Last Updated Apr 16, 2010 2:07 PM EDT
The UK may again be a nation of shopkeepers -- or entrepreneurs of some kind.
A new report reveals that over half of us have already started or want to start a business of our own.
The report, "Entreprenation", commissioned by Orange, includes a YouGov survey of workers aged 18-50, which found around 51 per cent of the respondents already own their own business or are considering the move.
But why would anyone want to go it alone in such an uncertain economic environment. I asked UK business guru and CEO of Inspired Leaders Network Rene Carayol on what motivates people to go it alone in a tough climate:
Business is "sexy": There's been an attitude shift in society and to society having become 'business-literate'. He says TV shows such as the Apprentice and Dragons' Den have made business look attractive. "Business is no longer daft, relegated to the back pages of a newspaper," he says."Young people today are comfortable with flaunting their money. Money and the desire to make money is no longer considered vulgar."
Being your own boss: Sixty per cent of those surveyed by Orange said they would set up a business simply so that they could be their own boss and not have to answer to someone else.
Home is the new office: Flexibility seems to be the driving criteria -- over half of those surveyed were driven to set up on their own so they could work when and where they wanted. Working form home seems to be the new ideal -- 85 percent now believe the technology's there to make home-working a success.
Making a difference: Social entrepreneurship is becoming increasingly mainstream as people are driven by a desire to effect change and focus on more than just profits.
Making money to make a difference: Then there is the kind of an entrepreneur who builds a profit-driven business in order to be able to create wealth and use this wealth to help others. Carayol sees a generation of do-gooder,s inspired by the likes of Bill Gates and Richard Branson, who have realised that making money puts them in a position to help others. Sir Tom Hunter's eponymous foundation focuses on helping the next generation of start-ups, while hedgie Arpad Busson uses his considerable network to raise money for his Ark children's charity.
The obvious reason: That is, to make more money -- an incentive for 28 percent of those polled by Orange. For some, business is a short-tcut to wealth creation and financial independence.
Dream a dream: Job security and financial stability seem to have lost their charm. Britons would rather trade these for a business of their own where they could follow their passions and fulfil their dreams.
Getting a leg-up from the recession: The bad economic climate seems to have become a blessing in disguise for some with redundancy cheques having become the perfect start-up capital to fund their own businesses.
Beyond bricks and mortar: According to Carayol, there are 100,000 small businesses trading with Amazon as their sole selling outlet, using it as their store-front. Large online organisations like Amazon and eBay have made entrepreneurship more accessible to people whose time or capital constraints might have otherwise made it impossible.
To Carayol, the rise of the entrepreneur also marks a new confidence -- which is what we'll need to lead us out of the recession.