More than a quarter of people in the East Midlands are thinking about starting a business this year, according to a new study.

Enterprise Nation’s annual StartUp Ambition Report has found that 29% of people in the region are considering the move into entrepreneurship.

The biggest reasons cited were to make money from a skill or hobby and topping up their salary. 16% said they had spotted a gap in the market, the most of any region surveyed.

More than half of respondents (52%) would start as side hustle (alongside full or part-time employment), whilst 16% who would give up their job and start a full time business. However many also worried that they didn’t know where to start to look for support.

Nationally there’s been an increase in the number of people thinking about starting a business, from 30% in 2023 to 35% in 2024.

A massive 54% of 18-24 year olds (about 2-million people) have “entrepreneurial ambition”, according to Enterprise Nation.

Emma Jones, CBE, founder of Enterprise Nation, said:

“Starting a business is now an established part of people’s long term career aspirations. While wages stagnate and bills continue to rise, people are taking their financial futures into their own hands. 

“This is a trend that will only continue on an upwards trajectory as access to technology, business support, awareness of the benefits of entrepreneurship and fresh opportunities increases year-on-year. 

“People are side hustling, they’re self-funding their business idea by holding down a day job – or sometimes even jobs.  

“It’s our mission to ensure start-up and ongoing business advice is made available to everyone that needs it in 2024 and beyond. A booming pipeline of fresh new businesses supports future economic growth, increases innovation and adds a healthy helping of representative diversity to the UK’s small business community. We’re ready to support them to develop the skills they need to thrive.” 

Enterprise Nation conducted this online survey on 1,012 adults aged 18+ in the UK. The research fieldwork took place between 5th – 12th December 2023.