A golden era for entrepreneurs

HOW many times have you had an idea and wondered whether you could make some money from it? Probably most of us have several daily, but do nothing with them. Next week is Global Entrepreneurship Week however, and some influential people are saying that there has never been a better time to set up a business. Perhaps it is time for more ideas to get a chance to live?

Among the most enthusiastic is Julian Ranger. Ranger sold his first business STASYS to Lockheed Martin five years ago. He now works as an angel investor and has founded iBundle – an online hub for budding entrepreneurs. Ranger argues that thanks to the recession, there is an abundance of good, innovative people looking for work, while business premises are cheap and lying empty. “You might have to kiss a lot of frogs to find the prince who funds you”, he says, but dedicated people will succeed, and find themselves perfectly placed to make the best of recovering demand. Even at the height of the recession, 51,000 more small businesses were set up than wound up, and conditions are improving fast.

Professor John Mullins, of the London Business School, agrees. He observes that during downturns, large companies “have all pulled in their horns, so they are leaving the marketplace more or less clear for people with innovative ideas”. As old business models suffer, there is a lot of potential to improve on them – especially with the web. Barry Clark, of the Future Foundation, thinks that green startups and businesses that tap into the demand for ethically branded goods will do very well.

Natalie Ellis, the founder of Prestige Pet Products, says that the important thing is to be inventive and incredibly dedicated. Ellis “dreamed of setting up a pet company”, and worked night shifts at a casino to fund her plans. As her experience shows, with persistence even some of the quirkiest products can take off.

Certainly everyone agrees on one thing: successfully starting a business is enormously satisfying. According to Dom Jackman, the founder of escapethecity.com, more people starting businesses would increase not only our wealth but our happiness. That seems like a very good idea.