Britain is nation of ‘budding innovators’, claims survey

Millions of budding ‘innovators’ think they have a great idea – but half don’t think they could actually make it a reality.

Research polling 2,000 UK adults found more than one in 10 have had a great idea they think they could make a fortune from.

However, four in 10 agreed it can be more difficult to set up a ‘non-traditional’ business model.

Other obstacles include not having the money (48 per cent), not having the right networking opportunities (18 per cent) and a lack of confidence (29 per cent).

It also emerged 40 per cent of younger Brits claim to have an innovative idea to start a business with.

But while nearly half of those aged 18 to 34 think age is a barrier to business success, less than a third of those over 45 feel the same.

Ian Campbell, interim executive chair, Innovate UK, which commissioned the research, said: “Just having a great idea doesn’t necessarily guarantee success.

“We know that there are many challenges that can get in the way of new business ideas – especially when it comes to young innovators who, of all the age groups polled, had the strongest belief they could make their innovative business into a reality.

“Our study shows there are plenty of creative people out there with potentially game-changing ideas, but to launch it in the first place is the main challenge.

“As part of UK Research and Innovation, Innovate UK along with our partners The Prince’s Trust, want to give inspiring young entrepreneurs the opportunity to take their business idea to the next level through our young innovators programme #IdeasMeanBusiness campaign.”

The study also found nearly one in 10 believe their ethnicity would prevent them from being successful with their plan, and an equal percentage think their gender could be a factor.

It also emerged there is a much higher proportion of potential entrepreneurs among younger generations, with as many as a quarter of young adults inspired by the success of local entrepreneurs.

And three in 10 have been influenced by their own family’s success.

But among the factors holding young people back from launching a new business idea include their education and a lack of business acumen.

And more than half of 18 to 24-year-olds admitted they do not know where to go locally for help and support in turning their concept into a reality.

Researchers also revealed that of those who think they have a great idea, six in 10 intend on starting their project in the next five years, as they feel they’ve identified a real gap in the market and problem to solve.

More than a quarter believe it could solve safety and security challenges, while the same number think their proposal could tackle climate change.

These people are so optimistic, that if they had the support to kick start their idea or the support to fund it, 45 per cent believe they could make it into a national business.

And a fifth believe their concept has the potential to be a household name in the UK.

But it doesn’t always go to plan, with reasons for failed attempts by Brits who have set up on their own not just down to high taxation rates and insufficient funding.

A lack of their own desire to make their idea successful, lack of public interest and insufficient marketing are also among the factors which led to previous businesses not working out as hoped.

For the young people who admitted they had already tried and failed to start a new business, nearly a third said it was because of a lack of experience and financial backing.

But one in five young people admitted they have been inspired in their own working life through learning from others’ mistakes.

The research, conducted via OnePoll, found 35 per cent cite ambition as a key way of thinking when trying to make an innovative idea a success.

Explaining the value of the young innovators programme, Ben Marson, director of partnerships at The Prince’s Trust, which works in partnership with Innovate UK, said: “At The Prince’s Trust we believe that every young person, no matter their background, should have the chance to thrive in work.

“We know the immense potential and entrepreneurial spirit of UK young people but not everyone has the opportunity to turn their ideas into reality.

“Working with partners like Innovate UK on the Young Innovators initiative allows us to encourage and enable entrepreneurship and innovation among more young people and bring diverse ideas and businesses into the economy.”

For more information on #IdeasMeanBusiness, go to

Top 10 most successful innovations in the last 10 years – according to Brits:

1. Mobile technology (tablets, iPhones)

2. Contactless payment

3. Google Maps

4. 3D printing

5. Netflix

6. AI technology (smart home devices i.e. Alexa, smart mirrors)

7. Social media and networking channels (Tik Tok, Instagram)

8. Plant-based food products

9. Drones

10. Self-driving cars

Chris Price