The managing partner of West law firm Thrings, which has its largest office in Swindon, has urged the region’s business leaders to do more to support young people’s commercial ambitions.
In a speech to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) in Bristol, Simon Holdsworth, pictured, called on bosses to provide greater levels of practical advice and mentoring for the region’s young would-be business owners.
While increased use of social media and the internet, and developments in technology, robotics and 3D printing, will encourage more entrepreneurs, an absence of business mentors could deter many from setting up on their own.
While access to funds remained the principal barrier to young people launching their own business, according to a report by The Prince’s Trust, more than a third said it was access to experienced business leaders’ knowledge and guidance that would make them more inclined to set up on their own.
“Our region is rich in potential talent,” said Mr Holdsworth. “The creative and digital media industry accounts for 12% of businesses in Bristol, while the University of Bath Innovation Centre, the recently-launched Engine Shed [in Bristol] and the impending opening of the University Technical College Swindon only serve to remind us of the opportunities to nurture and develop the next generation of high-growth tech companies.
“As business leaders we have the resources to help provide entrepreneurs of the future with practical advice and mentoring support so that young people have the best possible opportunity to succeed in business. I know that Thrings is not alone in providing that invaluable time and expertise.
“Helping people to beat unemployment and set up businesses that employ other people can only be a good thing for the UK economy and our region.”
Mr Holdsworth’s comments echoed those of Arthur Bailey, the incoming ICAEW President, who told the organisation’s West of England annual dinner in Bristol that more needed to be done to support the growth ambitions of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the region.
The event, which was sponsored by Thrings and Lloyds Bank, raised more than £2,000 for The Prince’s Trust, the charity which provides support to disadvantaged young people in the UK and helps many launch their own business.