Belfast Telegraph

'Doubts' holding back would-be entrepreneurs

Aspiring entrepreneurs are reining in their ambitions of starting a new company, according to a survey which shows that the number of people confident in Britain's business environment has fallen to a record low.

The NatWest Entrepreneurship Monitor - which polled 2,044 respondents in the first quarter - shows that less than one in five people feel that now is a good time to start a business.

That is despite a rise in the number of people who said they would like to start a business to 14%, up from 10% and 12% in the third and fourth quarters of 2016 respectively.

However, interest in entrepreneurship has yet to recover to pre-Brexit vote levels of 39%.

Of the Britons who have considered starting their own business, two in five said they feel held back by not having a business plan or that borrowing money would put their financial security at risk.

NatWest said that those "doubts" are holding back entrepreneurs across the UK.

In Scotland, the number of people interested in self-employment is triple the amount of those who have actually taken the plunge, while in London and the West Midlands, that number is double.

Alison Rose, chief executive of commercial and private banking at NatWest, said: "The drop in confidence given the changing economic climate caused by the referendum was no great shock, but as the economy has started to bounce back, we have also seen a gradual rise in the number of people interested in starting a new business.

"Undoubtedly there will be bumps in the road as negotiations on Brexit continue, and confidence levels may fluctuate, but it's very encouraging to see us moving in the right direction again and we expect this to continue post-Q1."