Skills shortage and access to funding top concerns for UK entrepreneurs

Difficulty obtaining finance and a general skills shortage risk undermining Britain’s start-up revolution, the Institute of Directors has warned today.

Over two-fifths, 42 per cent, of start-up businesses surveyed by the Institute of Directors’ 99 network said they struggled to hire people with the right skills, while 39 per cent cite difficulty accessing finance as a potential barrier to growth.

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The IoD has called for government to open up the ‘equity economy’ to make it easier for savers to invest in young companies and turn Britain’s fledgling start-ups into scale-ups. The business group has also warned politicians against imposing arbitrary restrictions on the UK immigration system, which will make it harder for growing firms to bring in skilled workers from around the world.

Jimmy McLoughlin, Deputy Head of Policy at the IoD, said: “With so many young, exciting and cutting-edge businesses having popped up in recent years, it is vital to harness their potential and create the next raft of world-leading companies. Finding people with the right skills, and tapping into the right mix of finance will be the biggest factors in achieving scale-up success. For start-ups, overcoming these obstacles can be the difference between success and failure.

“It is a worry, therefore, that so many start-ups struggle to hire skilled employees. The push to teach children digital skills, like programming, at school is part of the long-term solution, but we must remember that start-ups face skills shortages now. Therefore, it is crucial that Britain’s immigration system is as open and easy to navigate as possible.

The survey of 122 members of the IoD 99 network – entrepreneurs running companies across the UK in every section of the economy, also showed that six in ten (61 per cent) young entrepreneurs were in full-time work when they started their own business. In addition, 22 per cent said they wanted to work for themselves and one-third (36%) said they wanted to build a successful company


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