Press release

Setting up a business ranked top career choice for 18 to 25 year olds across the globe

New report finds becoming an entrepreneur is the top career aspiration amongst 18 to 25 year olds.

  • new report finds becoming an entrepreneur is the top career aspiration amongst 18 to 25 year olds
  • UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) is helping an additional 24 high-potential start-ups launch their business in the UK through the second intake of its Sirius Programme

Starting a business is growing in popularity amongst young people across the world, according to a report published today (17 December 2014) by UK Trade and Investment and the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Over 400 18 to 25 year olds were surveyed for ‘Rethinking the drivers of entrepreneurship’, with 44% motivated by financial independence and 37% by personal satisfaction in their quest to become an entrepreneur.

However, while the ambition is strong amongst this age group, just 7% of survey respondents had already established their own business with the majority wanting better access to a network of successful entrepreneurs or tailored support to help get their business ideas off the ground.

The report has been published on the day that UKTI’s Sirius Programme has awarded an additional 24 new start-ups – founded by the most inspiring international entrepreneurs – with the vital support they need to get started.

UKTI Managing Director, Investment Michael Boyd said:

More and more young people the world over are enthused by the prospect of owning their own company.

Identifying and attracting high-quality investment is a core aim for UKTI. The UK is the most popular location in Europe for start-ups, and through our Sirius Programme we help some of the world’s most promising international graduate entrepreneurs take their ideas from a dream to reality.

I encourage all companies thinking of setting up in the UK to contact UKTI to find out how we can help.

71% of young entrepreneurs surveyed believe access to incubators or accelerators would help get new business ideas off the ground.

The Sirius Programme offers end-to-end support on the journey from start-up to successful business – including financial support and training to win the first customer, and a place with one of 5 leading UK accelerators offering mentoring, expert advice and pitch practice. The 24 start-ups in this second intake of the Programme range from robotics, to healthcare to wearable technology, with entrepreneurs from 23 nations including China, Germany, USA and Iran. All have chosen the UK to launch their business due to the favourable business environment.

One winner is TrueInvivo. Founded by Shakardokht Jafari from Afghanistan and Iranian Shabnam Jamshidi, TrueInvivo is a non-invasive cancer treatment solution. A University of Surrey graduate, Jafari was determined to make a difference after the devastation of watching a friend die of cancer. The device provides more accurate doses of radiation to patients and allows treatment to be targeted at tumours rather than healthy cells.

Shakar Jafari, co-founder of TrueInvivo, said:

The UK has a reputation for quality and innovation. We really appreciate the support that Sirius offers us – there is nothing like it in my home country.

We plan to use the UK as a base from which to target other markets like the Middle East, India and China, and are confident the Sirius Programme will help us achieve our objectives.

Other companies involved in the second intake include:

  • RTS Ideas: Spurred on by a desire to reduce the number of fatalities by drowning along the Caspian coastline, Iranians Amin Rigi and Amir Taheri designed Pars – an aerial robot designed to aid rescue missions near coastlines. Controlled remotely and fitted with GPS and a heat sensing camera, Pars can be deployed quicker than a human search and rescue team to despatch lifejackets to those in need
  • M-Health Discovery: M-Health Discovery is a big data analytics company for the healthcare sector. The brainchild of Tunisian nationals Mahmoud Ben Jeddou and Mohamed Ouederni, they have created an app that will allow medical professionals to identify medical conditions and study the spread of epidemics, especially across Africa
  • Lines: UK-India duo Jamie Grant and Pruthvikar Reddy have designed a wearable tech device to help people learn to ski. Consisting of sensors placed in the skier’s boots, data is sent to a smartphone app allowing the user to review their performance and receive advice on how to improve their skiing

Entrepreneurialism is a strong economic driver across the world. In the UK, 7.3% of adults were involved in starting or running a new business in 2013 and at the start of 2014, 5.2 million small businesses accounted for 47% of UK private sector employment.

Encouraging entrepreneurs to establish in the UK helps boost the UK economy, create British jobs and position the UK as a leading start-up hub.

Launched in 2013 the Sirius Programme has so far given 67 companies the opportunity to launch in the UK. Many are already achieving commercial success, with 5 companies from the first intake raising a total of £3.5 million in external investment.

Notes to Editors

1.For more information on The Economist / UKTI report please visit The Economist Insights website.

2.The Sirius Programme is run by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI). The aim of the programme is to attract international graduate entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas and support them to establish and grow their company in the UK. The Programme is open to international graduates whether they studied in the UK or at an international institution.

Launched in 2013, the Sirius Programme builds on the UK’s position as a leading destination for entrepreneurs. It was designed to create the next generation of successful graduate entrepreneurs and contribute to the growth of the UK economy.

To date, the Sirius Programme has successfully brought a diverse mix of 67 high-growth, innovative start-ups to the UK. Through the Programme, over 200 talented international graduate entrepreneurs have been given a place at a leading UK accelerator and vital support to get their business off the ground. Many of the start-ups have gone on to commercial success – receiving external investment and prestigious awards.

For more information on the Sirius Programme and to view the full list of the 24 companies selected for the second intake of the Programme please visit or follow @SiriusProgramme on Twitter.

3.Interviews with winners and Michael Boyd are available on request. Please contact Antoinette Merchant from UKTI Press Office

4.The UK ranked as the top destination for overseas investment in Europe for 2013 to 2014, generating 1,773 projects and creating or safeguarding 111,000 jobs. Reasons why the UK is so popular include:

  • corporation tax cut from 24% to 21% this year and then to 20% by 2015
  • for innovative companies, recent enhancements to the UK’s generous Research and Development tax credit scheme
  • ensuring the UK has business-friendly labour regulations, combined with a skilled, committed and flexible workforce
  • ensuring the supply of skills will remain secure for the future – over half a million full-time and part-time students graduate each year from the UK’s 170 universities and higher education institutes, the highest graduate output in Europe
  • specifically, UKTI run packages to support companies considering investing in the UK. These include access and introductions to the right people, guidance on procedures of setting up a company, tax advice, market research and help assessing opportunities
  • there is also assistance available after a business is established in the UK, including with visa processing, finding top quality staff and specific assistance for entrepreneurs (the Global Entrepreneur Scheme and Sirius for graduates)

To see the full UKTI inward investment report, go to UKTI inward investment report 2013-2014

5.UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) is the government department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. It also helps overseas companies bring their high quality investment to the UK’s economy – acknowledged as Europe’s best place from which to succeed in global business. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world. It provides companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage.

Published 17 December 2014