Entrepreneurial spirit flows through the veins of Brits in the North West – but London lags

Jasper Jolly
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London may have a thriving fintech startup culture, but it lags overall (Source: Getty)

British entrepreneurial zeal is strongest in the North West, with the capital lagging behind, according to a survey to be published today.

Londoners might want to think of themselves as buccaneering risk-takers, but a poll of 1,000 Brits by recruitment firm Robert Half shows aspirations of owning a business are strongest in cities such as Manchester and Liverpool.

Some 35 per cent of North Westerners dream of owning their own firm, and 31 per cent think they can make it – far above the national averages of 28 per cent and 23 per cent respectively.

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Region Employees with dreams of becoming a business owner

Employees who see being a business owner as a realistic goal

North West 35% 31%
Wales 34% 9%
South West 32% 20%
Scotland 30% 24%
London 30% 27%
Yorkshire 28% 27%
North East 27% 24%
South East 26% 16%
West Midlands 25% 28%
East Midlands 25% 17%
East England 19% 21%
Northern Ireland 11% 17%
UK average 28% 23%

Meanwhile, only 30 per cent of Londoners want their own company, and only 27 per cent think it is achievable.

The UK has been undergoing something of a start-up boom in recent years, with record 660,000 firms established during 2016, according to the Centre for Entrepreneurs think tank.

Between October and December 2017, there were 146,852 company incorporations in the UK, according to Companies House, although that was slightly down on 2016.

Yet not all regions of the UK experienced the same desire to have their name on the door. Northern Irish people had by far the lowest inclination to go it alone, with only 11 per cent harbouring any desire.

However, the bleakest picture was painted in Wales, where 34 per cent of people with an ambition to start their firm, but a paltry nine per cent believing it was a realistic goal.

Matt Weston, managing director at Robert Half UK, said the figures illustrate the changing nature of work. He said: “Professionals today are increasingly looking for autonomy in their roles in order achieve a fulfilled working life.”

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