50% of students have a business idea they would like to develop

50% of students have a business idea they would like to develop

23 May 2014

Survey finds that entrepreneurial spirit is alive and kicking amongst students.

A recent survey carried out by the IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme explored attitudes towards entrepreneurship among third level students. Examining student interest in becoming entrepreneurs, the survey assessed the positive and negative factors that influence student attitudes towards entrepreneurship, as well as gauging awareness for business incubation programmes and supports like IGNITE.

Over 300 third level students from across all disciplines were surveyed, with over 55% of respondents aged between 18 and 23, and almost 20% aged 30+, with a 50:50 male: female response rate. Interestingly 25% of respondents were first year undergrad students, highlighting an early interest in entrepreneurship, while 25% were postgrad students, suggesting that this group is interested in looking at alternatives to research projects.

It was found that almost 50% of students have a business idea they would like to develop, and their main motivating factor is to be independent and responsible for their own decisions. A second factor was individuals spotting an opportunity in the market and seeing a chance to make money.

Encouragingly, the survey found that there were as many female respondents as male who are interested in starting their own business, indicating that gender is not an inhibiting factor when it comes to entrepreneurship. If the survey findings give an indication of changing trends, the numbers of women business owners will keep rising as interest in entrepreneurship grows and younger women look to it as a viable option.

The survey found that around 50% of students interested in developing their own business, with an even breakdown of males and females, have at least one parent who started their own business, suggesting some correlation between entrepreneurial spirit and family background.  Encouragingly though, this also means that a similar number are willing to give it a go, not having a direct family background in entrepreneurship, showing there is a ‘new breed’ of entrepreneurs in the making, paving their own way in the world of business.

Commenting on the survey findings, Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock TD said: “It is encouraging to see that there appears to be a healthy interest in entrepreneurship within the student community. There are so many supports, like the IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme, to help young entrepreneurs successfully start their own business. By giving students the skills they need to successfully set up and run a company, they will be capable of replicating that success with other ideas in the future, ensuring entrepreneurship thrives and survives.”

Despite this, there are a still number of perceived barriers among the survey respondents when it comes to starting a business, the most significant of which is the lack of financial resources and support, which 47% of students listing this as their main barrier. Other less significant barriers include lack of necessary business skills, not enough business opportunities related to student’s area of study, no desire to have the responsibility of working for oneself, and unwillingness to take a risk. Almost 10% of students don’t believe there are any barriers.

According to the survey findings, government support and grant aid for start-ups, access to business mentors and advice to help start their own business, information about how to start a business are top of students lists when it comes to what would encourage them to consider starting their own business. Access to business incubation programmes, such as the IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme, is also on students’ radars.

Eamon Curtin, IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme Director, says “We are seeing an increasing number of students engaging in entrepreneurship and this is borne out of the survey findings. On almost a daily basis I meet students interested in learning more about how to start their own business and we are seeing significant interest in the next IGNITE programme, commencing this autumn. The closing date for applications is fast approaching, so I would urge anyone interested to complete an application and return it to us by May 30th.”

The IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme is a nine month business incubation programme at UCC for recent graduates from any discipline from any third level institution with a viable business idea; aimed at nurturing, developing and strengthening entrepreneurial potential. Applications for the 2014/ 2015 intake of participants must be submitted by Friday, May 30th. For more information on the programme and how to apply, visit http://ignite.ucc.ie.