First-ever Founder Barometer national business report released by Virgin StartUp

First-ever Founder Barometer national business report released by Virgin StartUp

According to recent research, the entrepreneurial spirit in Britain is still strong. Sixty-six percent of small business founders believe their companies will be in a better financial position in six months, but the government needs to do more to help them get there.

Of the over 450 new business founders surveyed, nearly a quarter (24%) claimed that the policies of the government have not produced an atmosphere that allows their companies to prosper.

In addition to highlighting a stark sense of inequality, Virgin StartUp’s biannual Founder Barometer found that more than a third (34%) of female entrepreneurs shared the sentiment that government policy hasn’t produced an atmosphere that allows their business to succeed, compared to less than one in five (18%) male founders.

Beyond gender, the disparity persists: a startling 49% of Northern founders believe that changes in policy and the political landscape haven’t produced a favorable atmosphere, compared to only 21% in the South.

In addition, 27% of founders expressed the need for more assistance for underrepresented founders, including women, Black, Asian, and minority-ethnic founders, as well as disabled founders. They also requested improved access to start-up loans (27%), as well as more programs and schemes for mentorship (24%).

Although most new business founders (96%) say they intend to hire at least one full-time employee, and over half (51%) say they plan to hire at least four employees in the upcoming year, optimism is high.

Andy Fishburn, Managing Director, Virgin StartUp, commented: “It’s important to hear directly from small business owners and start-ups which is why we decided to launch our bi-annual Founder Barometer survey. Despite a testing year, it’s encouraging to hear that many business founders are invigorated and are heading into the new year with a positive outlook.”

For many, creating a greener company and being environmentally conscious were also top priorities. Founders are overwhelmingly interested in finding ways to make their operations more sustainable in the next year, with 92% of them looking into this. This is because over half of them (58%) think that their customers are concerned about sustainability.

The cost-of-living dilemma (ranked at 29% and the possibility of another recession at 22%) are still the two main issues that UK entrepreneurs cite as having the greatest impact on their companies.

Andy added, “The business community is no stranger to dusting itself off and tackling hurdles head on, but now more than ever, with several challenging economic issues surrounding us, we need to be honest with ourselves and look at how and where organisations and our peers can support one another through what are undoubtedly unsure times”.

The Founder Barometer also showed how founders’ stress levels are being impacted by an unstable economy. Britain’s founders gave their mental health an average rating of only 5/10 when asked, indicating that more needs to be done to assist the country’s diligent business owners.

Andy Fishburn continues, “By launching our Founder Barometer we will now be able to provide a benchmark with which we test and look to improve how we do business, not just in the present but the future too. We’re committed to standing shoulder to shoulder with founders, in both the good times and the bad. Put simply, we want to be a business for good, now and always. “