Surge in teenagers setting up businesses – study

Image copyright Coral Eyewear
Image caption Coral Eyewear uses 100% recycled waste plastic and fishing nets

The number of teenagers in the UK with their own businesses has gone up 700% in 10 years, research suggests.

In 2009 there were 491 businesses run by teens, now there are 4,152, OneFamily found.

These include tech companies, clothing lines and make-up brands, the financial services provider said.

George Bailey, 19, who runs his own company said: "I think tech and social media has made it easier for young people to start their own business."

George started his own business, Coral Eyewear, which makes eyewear out of 100% recycled waste plastic and fishing nets.

He told Radio 1 Newsbeat: "At first it started off as a side project. It can be hard to juggle because at first I was running it on my own with my co-founder. But as time has gone on we've got some more people working for us, which makes it easier."

Image copyright Geroge Bailey UEA
Image caption George Bailey is 19 and runs Coral Eyewear

As well as running his own business George is studying philosophy, politics and economics at University of East Anglia.

"There are some difficulties... I'm always studying or doing stuff with the business which can be difficult but I have chosen an area I enjoy and it's starting to see it's making an impact."

The university has a entrepreneurial fund where they help young businesses and invested £50,000 into his start-up.

"It doesn't surprise me there are more teenagers with businesses," George adds.

"In 2019, we've witnessed young people who are passionate about social media and the climate and there are lots of opportunities for young people to put the problems they're voicing into fuelling their technology or sustainable businesses."

Ethical perspective

According to the research, one in five (19%) teens would much rather be their own boss than work for someone else.

George says: "We can set our own goals, it's great we don't have someone above telling us what to do and we can make sure we're getting everything right from an ethical perspective."

He says there were other sustainable eyewear options out there but they didn't look as good.

"We are trying to make sure we get both style and sustainability."

OneFamily got its data through a Freedom of Information request to Companies House, which keeps a register of all UK companies.

The company found 4,152 UK teenagers (aged 16-19) set up their own company in 2018 and 491 teens were company directors in 2009.

The firm also surveyed 2,001 people aged 13 to 19 years old.

Nici Audhlam-Gardiner, from OneFamily, said: "Generation Z were born after Google and have grown up with social media, so it's no surprise that these teens are already using their networks to help build their career."

Entrepreneurs like former Apple boss Steve Jobs, Sir Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook were said to be inspirational figures to youngsters.

The government has advice for anyone wanting to start their own business, including help on accessing loans.

It says its Startup Loans provides start-up finance and up to 12 months of mentoring support.

There's also a free helpline for people to get advice to pre-start and start-ups.

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Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-50938854

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