Sorry, Lord Sugar you’ve been fired by the youth

New research shows that young entrepreneurs don't relate to the UK's leading faces in business despite having just as much ambition.

Research from Entrepreneur First shows that over three-quarters (76pc) of 18-30-year olds lack relatable entrepreneurial role models with similar values to them.

More than half of respondents relate to the typical traits of an entrepreneur: risk-taking, resilient, optimistic. However, they don’t see entrepreneurial giants like Lord Sugar and Richard Branson as figures that motivate them.

The findings come from a global study on ambition, with over 10,000 respondents across UK, France, Germany, India, Singapore and Hong Kong believing they may lack inspirational role models. Even so, they are no less motivated.

In fact, this age group generally see themselves as more ambitious and motivated than their parents’ generation. They also believe they have a greater propensity to change the world for the better than established companies (25pc) and the Government (18pc).

Despite their optimism, less than half believe they will set up their own company. Over a third (41pc) are worried that they’d be worse off financially while 39pc lack the access to capital to work towards their life and career ambitions. Uncertainty is stopping 37pc of respondents and the same proportion fear the possible lack of stability that comes with being an entrepreneur. Over a third have a fear of failure while one in five don’t go for entrepreneurship due to pressure to conform to social conventions around careers and life stages.

It looks to be a sour situation either way, as 37pc don’t believe they are meeting their full potential in their current situation.

“The next generation of talent in the UK is evidently ambitious but is being held back by a lack of role models,” said Matt Clifford, Entrepreneur First’s co-founder and chief executive.

“Lord Sugar and Richard Branson are rightly respected for what they’ve achieved, but if the next generation can’t relate to them, surely it’s time to retire these individuals as the go-to entrepreneurs?”

They have a point – entrepreneurs under 30 are relatively unknown compared to the traditional big players. The only widely recognised ‘younger’ name on the Forbes billionaires list is Kylie Jenner.

Get to know the younger entrepreneurs out there by looking to local incubators and co-working spaces as well as present and previous business award nominees.

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Jamie inspires enterprising youngsters

TV chef Jamie Oliver was among a pantheon of successful entrepreneurs inspiring young Britons to plan their own businesses, according to an earlier research study commissioned by vocational qualifications group City & Guilds.

This study of over a thousand 16-25 year-olds, conducted by research organisation, discovered that some 49 per cent of those surveyed ‘have a strong desire’ to establish their own business venture at some stage in the future. Male respondents were particularly eager to one day be their own boss (63 per cent have this goal). An impressive 35 per cent of those questioned, meanwhile, said they expect to set up their own ventures within the next five years.

Jamie Oliver was among the most inspirational figures to these prospective young entrepreneurs, with Virgin boss Richard Branson, Body Shop founder Anita Roddick and Microsoft mogul Bill Gates also seen as business idols.

To Chris Humphries, City & Guilds’ director general, the results made encouraging reading for the UK economy.

“It’s reassuring to see that many young people today are extremely ambitious,” Humphries explained. “Successful entrepreneurs such as Jamie Oliver are living proof that you can be your own boss and run a successful business under the age of 30.”

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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