Five reasons why this is the most exciting time to be a young technology entrepreneur

16 Jun 2016

We’re on the cusp of ‘generation entrepreneur’; a disruptive new tech economy where even teenagers can start lucrative companies from their bedrooms with nothing more than a tablet an iPad and an idea.

There are already some 26,000 under-21s in Britain listed as directors of UK Ltd companies. I put this down to the incredible evolution of technology over recent years – from the emergence of the app economy to the accessibility of the Raspberry Pi encouraging technology skills from the earliest age. It’s resulting in a whole generation of young entrepreneurs, whose ideas can reach a global market faster than ever before due to the power of internet.

There has never been a better time to be a young tech entrepreneur. Here are my top reasons why:

1) Tech natives are already ahead of the game

Highly advanced technologies are creating a vast digital playground for today’s youth to hone their inventiveness and creativity, and to learn the skills needed to create tomorrow’s technologies. Today’s kids are navigating smart devices without a second’s thought. It’s also fantastic to see that they are increasingly encouraged to learn to create and programme their own software from a very young age, which puts the coming generations miles ahead even without formal tech training.

2) The UK’s climate can compete with sunny San Fran

While we hear a lot about Silicon Valley boasting the ideal environment for tech start-ups, the current economic climate over here in the UK is also ripe for business success.

Britain’s top tech start-ups now grow at six times the rate of any other companies. There has never been a better time for a young entrepreneur to start their own tech company right here in the UK.

3) The rise of the tech entrepreneurs

The UK technology sector is growing at a phenomenal rate, with top tech companies growing at 1,000% a year. Generation Y is perfectly poised to take advantage of it of this lucrative sector.

The rise of apps in particular has enabled anyone to create the next Uber from the comfort of their bedroom. Look at revision app Gojimo, whose inventor George Burgess was just 15 by the time he was turning a profit, and just 17 when he set-up his Education Apps Ltd company. Gojimo is his biggest success to date, securing over $1m in seed funding and achieving global success. While Summly inventor Nick D’Aloisio was the youngest ever person to receive a round of venture capital funding in technology at just 15 years old. Summly was bought by Yahoo for $20 million.

4) The UK is a hub of innovation

The UK is the home of a number of world-class universities which provide facilities, ‘makerspaces’ and support for students to commercialise their ideas.

Meanwhile, national policy initiatives like The Enterprise Investment Scheme, alongside support hubs such as TechCityUK and the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub, are helping to support new Silicon Valleys in cities across Britain, from Croydon to my own patch Cambridge, transforming Britain into fertile territory for tech start-ups. There has never been a better time to consider entrepreneurship as a career path and turn dreams into reality.

5) There’s never been more support available for start-ups

Bootstrapping a new business can be daunting for young inventors with nothing but a dream and an idea, but compared to just a few years ago, there’s now an array of support available for young entrepreneurs and start-ups – from Business Rate Relief and free superfast broadband for SMEs, to free business resources such as those offered by the British Library Business & IP Centre. We’re also seeing a culture of ‘smart capital’ emerge – where investment is increasingly coupled with business mentorship and advice because the investors have already been successful entrepreneurs themselves – which has helped to create a ripe environment for young entrepreneurs to succeed. If you are an aspiring engineer and have a brilliant idea I encourage you to apply for the Launchpad Competition which offers full-circle support and is aimed specifically at helping 16-25-year-old entrepreneurs to get their ideas off the ground. Opportunities like this can be life changing for ambitious young people; if you don’t apply, you definitely won’t win! As the chair of the judging panel for the competition I look forward to meeting bright and determined young men and women who could be the founders of a whole new generation of technology companies.

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