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How can the UK support its startups and entrepreneurs?


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  • Feb 26,2024
  • By Admin

The UK is renowned for its number of bright, exciting and disruptive startups. And we should not under-estimate the importance of these fledgling companies to the UK economy; it is estimated that startups contribute £196 billion to UK GDP each year. 

However, startups, like most UK businesses, have faced an immensely challenging 12 months – 64% believe that a combination of the Brexit and COVID-19 made 2020 the hardest year on record, according to recent research from One World Express.

Consequently, confidence among UK startups has wavered in some quarters, while many prospective entrepreneurs may have been dissuaded from building up their own business from scratch. 

Given the UK prides itself on its entrepreneurial spirit, it would be tragic to see the bustling startup industry plateau, or worse yet, decline. So, how can this be prevented?  

Financial support
The Government has gone to great lengths to ensure small businesses and the self-employed receive adequate financial support as they attempt to navigate the pandemic. Indeed, the 2021 Spring Budget saw Chancellor Rishi Sunak extend the eligibility criteria for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), as well as announce a “small profits rate”, aiding businesses which generate £50,000 or less in profits per annum. 

These are, of course, positive measures for existing early-stage businesses. That said, the Government could go further still in offering financial support to future generations of entrepreneurs. 

For one, efforts must be made to ensure entrepreneurs are aware of the various loans that are available to them; from the government-powered Start Up Loans Scheme, to publishing further details about the UK’s Infrastructure Bank. What’s more, easy to follow guidance should be issued, to help people fully understand the application processes. 

Doing so will go a long way in helping more budding entrepreneurs to access vital funds to get their businesses off the ground. 

Mentoring schemes
Financial support is just one element of building a business. Indeed, mentoring can be an invaluable tool to kickstart a new startup; many individuals crave a guiding voice, which can offer advice on various elements of the business – from branding and marketing to sales and accounts. 

As such, it is important prospective and existing entrepreneurs are aware of the various mentoring schemes available to them. The Government-backed Tech City UK, for example, is a great space for tech entrepreneurs to connect with well-established business leaders to guide them through their new business venture. However, many entrepreneurs are still unaware that such forums even exist. 

So, such schemes must be made more accessible. Doing so will require a cross-industry effort; from established businesses launching their own mentoring forums, to increasing promotion for existing schemes. This effort would certainly be worthwhile – it would enable future generations of business leaders to access the professional support and knowledge required to grow their new business and drive innovation within their sector. 

At One World Express, we pride ourselves on offering consultative support to UK SMEs. We help educate business leaders about the benefits of cross-border trade and global expansion – more importantly, we explain the financial and practical consideration for those making this step.

As we transition out of lockdowns, it is essential we do not overlook the ongoing struggles of UK startups. These businesses – thousands of which boast huge potential – will be drivers of economic growth, creating wealth and jobs for the nation. But they cannot achieve this without support during their formative years; both the private and public sectors must work together to deliver this.