What Brexit Means for Young Entrepreneurs

Posted on September 18, 2016

On June 23 the United Kingdom voted in a referendum to leave the European Union. The result has caused a ripple of effects in the business world as young entrepreneurs and business leaders alike maneuver to establish what this means for their companies.

The news is filled with arguments and counter-arguments over whether Brexit will have a negative impact on business in the UK. Being a young entrepreneur is never easy and they face many different challenges. In light of the result we look at the challenges Brexit has presented for entrepreneurs in the UK and what the future may hold.

A quick glance over the headlines and opinion pieces dealing with Brexit and it all looks very bleak for young entrepreneurs. In an article examining the impact of Brexit on small businesses the Financial Times interviewed three British business owners. The two older business leaders found that their companies weren’t experiencing many negatives after the vote. The young entrepreneur was the only one who was struggling. To combat the weak pound he had to put his prices up and is considering moving the business online.

As the pound has plummeted to record lows the Business Insider UK states that in the aftermath of Brexit the focus has be more on stabilizing big business than supporting young entrepreneurs. CEO of accounting software giant FTSE 100 Stephen Sage wants to provide a voice for young entrepreneurs and the millennial generation. In an interview with the Business Insider he says of new business “they’re important to the economy now, but they’ll be even more important [in the future].” Sage quite rightly states that if the UK wants to survive in a post-EU economy then it is going to have to support new and upcoming business.

Young Entrepreneurs are going to find it hard in the coming years, especially as the final outcome of Brexit isn’t clear. Yet there have always been challenges and the successful entrepreneurs have always been the ones who adapt to the current situation. Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin, realizes that post-Brexit Britain will be tough for new and upcoming business leaders. In an interview with the Business Reporter he states that the referendum result “is the biggest blow that has happened to business that I know potentially in my lifetime. It is going to be worst than the 2007 crash.”

In order to support new entrepreneurs he has set up Voom to give financial support to start-ups. Despite the turmoil of the economy Branson has a positive message for business owners: “my motto in life is, screw it – just get on and do it.” It is this boldness that spurs young entrepreneurs onto success in the face of adversity.

Another positive boost for entrepreneurs is that accountancy firm EY picked out the UK as the country within the G20 group as the best place for digital entrepreneurs. According to Diginomica this is due to the regulatory and tax environment in the UK. The website states that the UK is also ranked second in the world for digital knowledge base and ICT market and fourth for entrepreneurial culture. The only negative from the report was the UK was ninth in access to finance. This shows that while financial resources may be harder to source the UK is still a huge pool of talent that will push the economy forward in the future.

How does the future look for young entrepreneurs in the UK? There is unfortunately no clear answer to that question. The question remains uncertain because the final result is still unknown. FXCM wrote an article on whether Brexit will actually happen, where they point out that the June referendum was an “advisory referendum.” This has caused a lot of problems because the government is not legally bound to honor the result and can attempt to negotiate a better position. For businesses this has left them in a limbo until Article 50 is triggered and the UK finally decides its position in or out of the EU. The UK has the talent and drive to succeed and with business leaders such as Richard Branson and Stephen Sage promoting new ideas for young people it is hoped that UK business will continue to move forward.