According to new data, the Covid-19 pandemic has propelled enterprising Gen-Z’s into starting record numbers of new businesses.
Manchester residents aged 16-20 accounted for over 370 of the 9,648 start-ups registered in the region in 2020. A sizeable proportion of the new businesses created considering the minimum age for registering a business in the UK is 16.
The Age of Entrepreneurialism data from The Accountancy Partnership reveals that the year-long period from 1 February 2020 saw a 72% increase of 16-20-year-olds registering as sole traders, while all other age groups experienced fewer new businesses than the previous year.
With 32% fewer job vacancies in the UK in 2020 than 2019, the era of uncertainty has encouraged Gen-Z to take earning power into their own hands and generate their own income streams.
One-fifth of hospitality jobs were lost last year, and the retail sector has also been seriously impacted, most recently with the closure of Topshop and other Arcadia shops. Manchester has also faced some of the longest and toughest lockdown restrictions in the country. Young people in the region have been forced to look away from, and find alternatives to, typical employment.
The data indicates that males are more enterprising that their female counterparts. Males make up 71% of new sole traders in total, and this is reflected in every age group. In 16-20-year-olds, women are 80% less likely to start a new business than men.
Although the pandemic has boosted entrepreneurialism among Gen-Z, the data suggests a longer-term trend in the enterprising nature of younger generations. Since 2017, there has been a 206% increase in 16-20-year-olds and a 72% increase in 21-30-year-olds registering as sole traders.
Lee Murphy, managing director at The Accountancy Partnership, said:“It’s incredible to see the enterprising nature of the latest generation. The barriers to starting a business are lower than ever, with the ease of selling products and services online with little to no initial costs. From our data it is clear to see how each age group has been affected by the pandemic in relation to entrepreneurialism, turning to enterprise because their other options are so limited.
“Between 16-20-years-old is typically an uncertain time of life in normal circumstances as people decide whether to pursue further education or start their career. Closures in retail and hospitality, and money worries surrounding university have made this year even more trialing, triggering this rise in young people starting businesses.
“The pandemic has also highlighted how important a digital presence is for business and over the past twelve months, social media has become a petri-dish of new business start-ups, with 31.2% of businesses in 2020 started on Facebook and 30.9% on Instagram. Gen-Z is a digitally native generation with social media at their fingertips to reach a customer audience which has not been so easily accessible in the past.”