Start-ups getting younger

New research has found that almost a quarter of university students are either running their own business or planning to do so, with estimates of the collective turnover of these undergraduate businesses totalling more than £44m a year.

According to the survey, some 24 per cent of students have blossoming entrepreneurial spirit, with the most popular ventures being in technology-based solutions or arts and crafts, followed by clothing and textiles, catering and tutoring.

Selling online was the most popular channel, with almost half selling their services via their own website, 13 per cent via other websites, such as eBay and Gumtree, and 11 per cent through social media sites.

The research also found that the majority of students planning to run a business or running one said their motivation was to pursue a hobby or personal interest and interestingly, only 38 per cent said they were motivated by financial gain, while one in ten said it was to gain work experience.

The study found that 27 per cent expect to pursue their business as a career after graduating, 53 per cent would like to continue it as a second job or hobby, and 8 per cent would continue under the guidance of someone else. Just six per cent said they would close it down.

Meanwhile, the Government’s flagship £310m Start Up Loans finance scheme has so far distributed more than 20,000 loans across the UK, with 54 per cent of the loans going to 18 to 30-year-olds.

A spokesman for the Start Up Loans Company, said that risk and failure are both key components of the business journey and neither should be shied away from, which is why mentoring is such an important component of the scheme, providing the next generation of entrepreneurs with advice.

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