Young women in Bristol have the best chance of starting a successful business, according to new research.
The study, by Microsoft Office 365, focused on who is leading Britain’s current crop of successful start-ups, as well as their hopes and fears as they set up and run their own company.
Microsoft has also teamed up with Apprentice finalist and entrepreneur Bianca Miller to launch the #My365 campaign, which aims to help budding business owners start their own venture in just 365 hours.
The research found that firms run by people under the age of 35 are three times less likely to lose money than those run by over-55s, with just 3% of those in the younger age bracket currently in the red.
If you’re looking to start a business, it also helps if you’re female. Just 2% of companies ran by women were loss-making, compared with 8% of those overseen by men.
Bristol emerged as the best place to start a new venture, with 86% of firms recording a healthy profit.
As part of the research, Microsoft quizzed 250 people who currently run a company that is less than three years old, and a further 252 who were thinking of starting their own business.
However, despite the success of younger entrepreneurs, 55% of research respondents in the latter category said that a lack of funds had led them to postpone their plans. A further 35% cited general financial risks as a reason not to go it alone, while 23% said lack of experience was a factor and 21% admitted that they didn’t know where to start.
Despite these issues, just 18% said having a mentor was important when starting a business.
Among those already in charge of their own company, 50% said they had taken the plunge because they wanted to be their own boss, while 38% wanted more flexible working.
Ashley Asdourian, Microsoft’s Office 365 Lead, said: “It is inspiring to see young people throughout Britain leading the charge in launching successful new start-ups. The study clearly demonstrates a fierce competition and drive to get ahead among younger people, which makes me excited for the future. At Microsoft, our aim is to help provide these people with both the insights and the technology they need in order to fill their future career aspirations.”
To help people thinking of starting their own business, Miller founded The Be Group. The organisation is a specialist provider of personal branding, image consultancy and employability skills training.
Miller will be offering hints and tips to aspiring entrepreneurs every day at the My365 website.
“I’m an Office 365 subscriber and I’ve managed to bring Office into my businesses and what I do in my daily life,” Miller said. “It’s great to show how businesses can use Office to optimise their planning and bring their organisation to life.
“For four and a half years I’ve worked with a variety of clients including women and the youth to help them understand the power of personal branding and marketing themselves. The Be Group helps people understand their personal branding and raise their confidence.
Miller believes that while there are financial obstacles to starting a business, the rewards can be satisfying; and the advances in technology means it’s never been a better time to take the first step to becoming your own boss.
“It’s a great time be an entrepreneur,” she added. “Thanks to technology, creating a business and finding customers is far more accessible nowadays, and social media and laptops help people market their company without much money. Bloggers are making a really good living just giving their personal opinion, and that wouldn’t have happened 20 years ago. People feel empowered that on their laptops, they can write a dynamic business plan, market themselves and make a website.
“Women are also doing better, and the playing field is starting to level somewhat. More women are starting businesses and feeling like they can do it, too. That’s partly because there are so many more role models for women now. It’s very inspiring.”