“Unfortunately not,” says Gudmundur Stoklosa, who worked as a financial analyst in London before heading to London to set up a family business. “There is no way you can build an independent business from scratch, and in general most entrepreneurs don’t achieve it.”
This lack of success is the problem for most small businesses across Europe.
“Most small businesses are not viable business plans and they never will be, regardless of how much you talk about it,” says Martin Brink, a senior consultant at PwC.
“Many entrepreneurs have no idea how to grow – their skills don’t exist at that level. And many entrepreneurs in developed economies don’t even know the best way to do the work needed – they will work, or even manage staff who do not have the required skills.”
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Business-focused activities help small businesses grow. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo
The problem is that, for most small businesses, these are the jobs that have already disappeared. According to the UK Small Business and Enterprise Association, there are now 6 million fewer local businesses, and an estimated two million fewer businesses within the country overall. That makes one fifth of all UK employees without a job.
If we are going to turn things around, we need more than jobs from government or the business sector Martin Brink
In Ireland, the country in which most British small businesses are established, there are also fewer such jobs in large cities than elsewhere.
The reason there is so much demand for those jobs is that jobs have disappeared in the north since the boom-bust economy began, and new jobs have been created along the Irish coast.
In London, the biggest job seekers from Northern Ireland are, in fact, people who have already left the UK without jobs.
Yet at the moment, in Britain, the only way for many young entrepreneurs to break into the market is to work for an established company. If we are going to turn things around, we need more than jobs from government or the business sector.
Stoklosa says business-focused activity – particularly crowdfunding through online platforms such as Kickstarter – is one way that entrepreneurs could expand their business. But it takes a lot of funding and time, and this has been seen as a sign that many new businesses are simply not viable.
And it’s important to remember that even small businesses are affected by globalisation. In 2007, at the height of the economic crisis,
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