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Half of SME workers have ambitions to start their own business

Posted by Kat Walsh on Mar 10, 2022 2:27:36 PM
  • Men are more likely than women to want to start their own business – 57% of male respondents compared to 43% of female
  • People in London and the South East are most likely to be budding entrepreneurs
  • Those between 25 and 34 are the keenest to become their own boss (66%), followed by those aged 18-24 (55%) but 41% of the over 55s surveyed also have ambitions to start their own enterprise


March 2022: Finding and retaining staff has never been tougher for small and medium sized firms[i] and now many face the ‘Great Resignation’ threat of staff upping and leaving to create their own businesses. Our latest survey[ii] found that 50% of workers within SMEs have ambitions to start their own business. While those aged 25-34 were most likely to be harbouring entrepreneurial ambitions, 43% of those aged 55 and over also want to create their own start-up.

This is not to suggest people aren’t satisfied in their work - 56% of those surveyed, who are working in SMEs reported that they feel positive about their job prospects, salary expectations and career progression. Just 8% feel negative. However, those age 55-64 felt least positive of all those surveyed which may indicate why 41% have ideas about setting up on their own.

Todd Davison, our MD, said: “SMEs need to be looking at the ways they can help engender staff loyalty, particularly amongst their older employees and those who were more significantly impacted by the pandemic. Job vacancies are at an all-time high[iii] so keeping staff motivated and engaged is vital.

“Of course, the employees of SMEs are far more likely to have day to day dealings with their employers and an understanding of both the pressures and the rewards. This may be inspiring the level of entrepreneurialism identified in our survey. Also, investment in smaller businesses doubled in 2021[iv] according to the British Business Bank which may be providing a boost in confidence to those who have ambitions to realise their own business dreams.

“Securing finance and understanding the risks involved is one of the hardest aspects of setting up a new business and budding entrepreneurs should be seeking independent advice from an accredited commercial finance broker through the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB), particularly if they find they need to sign a personal guarantee as security for a loan.

”Ultimately, the business ambition uncovered by our survey is good news, it might be a threat to SMEs but it shows a level of confidence in the recovery of the economy, and demonstrates the U.K.’s entrepreneurial spirit has not been dented by Brexit or COVID-19.”



[ii] Study conducted January 2022 amongst 500 SME employees



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