Is there enough help for young people wishing to start their own business? What more encouragement, support and assistance can be given? And what are their experiences?
These are the kinds of questions that the Assembly’s Enterprise and Business Committee is asking as part of its inquiry into youth entrepreneurship in Wales. The Committee began a public consultation in March and will be taking oral evidence from witnesses during June.
The Welsh Government has had a Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy (YES) in place since 2004. This was updated with a new strategy and action plan in 2010 under the One Wales coalition. This cuts across both the Economy and Education portfolios and is currently the joint responsibility of two Ministers – Edwina Hart and Leighton Andrews – and runs until 2015.
Committee Members will be taking evidence from a range of organisations and people involved in working with young people as well as young entrepreneurs themselves. The Committee will then be producing a written report with a view to making a series of recommendations
The current Welsh Government YES strategy and action plan has as its three themes of delivery, to engage with young people on the value of entrepreneurship, empower them with opportunities, and equip them with the support to create and grow their own business. The age range covered under YES is 5-25 years.
In February 2012 the Minister for BETS and the Minister for Education and Skills issued a joint written statement which provided an update on the progress of the YES Action Plan. The statement included the following statistics to demonstrate the impact of the YES Action Plan:
- Changing Attitudes – Young people under 25 have higher aspirations to work for themselves and be their own boss (52 per cent), in comparison with the average 16-64 age group (39 per cent) (Wales Omnibus Survey 2011)
- Early Stage Entrepreneurship and Start Ups – The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Report 2010, reports the rate of early stage entrepreneurship in Wales for those aged 18-24 as 6.7 per cent, higher than the UK average of 3.3 per cent
Interestingly, different impressions are given by the latest GEM Report for 2011. Total early stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA) amongst 18-24 year olds was higher than any other UK country at over 10 per cent which is a three fold rise since 2002 (Figure 12).
However, the report also included figures which showed there were differences in perceptions among non-entrepreneurial people in Wales in comparison with England and other parts of the UK (Table 3).
- 44 per cent in Wales agreed that most people consider starting up a business is a good career choice, compared to 50 per cent across the UK
- 18 per cent in Wales believed there were good start up opportunities in their local area, compared to 28 per cent across the UK
- 38 per cent of people in Wales believed there are often stories about people starting successful new businesses in the media, compared to 44 per cent across the UK
Article written by Michael Dauncey.