The Entrepreneurial South West

8th June 2018

48.9% of people in the South West would consider starting their own business, according to the results of a recent survey from Know Your Money, making the South West one of the most entrepreneurial regions in the UK.

The South West has a higher percentage of would-be entrepreneurs than the UK average. So what is it that is so appealing to South Westerners about starting a business? For many, it’s the opportunity to be their own boss (41.7%) more than the potential for financial rewards (33%). Others, like Bristol entrepreneur Blue O’Connor, see starting a business as their chance to make a positive impact in their community.

The results also show that 43.9% of those surveyed feel the government should be doing more to support entrepreneurs.

Tara Gillam, Head of Enterprise at Business West said: “There is a huge amount of potential in the South West and it’s fantastic to see so many people considering launching their own business. Support is out there to help these future entrepreneurs succeed but for someone new to the business world it can be a challenge to know where to start. Our business advisors are a free source of support for West of England businesses, they speak to new and potential business owners on a daily basis; helping them access the support, finance, and training they need to achieve their ambitions.”

Just over a quarter (25.5%) of respondents identified lack of funds as the primary barrier to starting their own business. Coffee-bike franchise owner Tomasz Podpora overcame this hurdle with support from the Business West Enterprise team and a Start Up Loan.

“Without [Business West] it would have taken me a lot longer to reach the stage of my business where I am able to employ a member of staff.” - Tomasz Podpora, Coffee Bike

John Ellmore, director of independent financial comparison site Know Your Money commented on the statistics:

“ Whilst it appears wanting to be your own boss is a common goal, it’s an unfortunate truth that many are unable to follow these ambitions through with the biggest barrier to many being a lack of personal funds. If you don’t have the money saved, there are plenty of alternative funding avenues, from grants to business loans, which can get the ball rolling. Don’t let an initial lack of funds stop you from pursuing your dream!”

Alternative finance solutions are an increasingly popular option for new entrepreneurs and Business West work with several funding partners and grant schemes to provide a range of options for new and growing businesses. When Blue O’Connor had the idea for Kings he came to Business West for support:

“After a one-to-one session with a Business West start-up adviser I attended the ‘Business Planning and Finance’ workshop and was encouraged to apply for the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) start up programme and grant. After a successful three-stage application, I was given £3,000 to start my socially driven business.” - Blue O’Connor, Kings

A great place to start is our Business Planning and Finance workshop, which will help you create a robust business plan and financial forecast. From there you’ll be in a strong position to apply for a government backed Start Up Loan or alternative sources of finance.

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