UK Springboard – a nation of entrepreneurs

We’re calling on the government to launch a UK-wide ‘Springboard scheme’ to support new business creation and long-term job growth

What we’d like government to do

Octopus is calling for the government to help create a plan to enable a ‘nation of entrepreneurs’ to support the UK’s post-pandemic recovery by providing targeted support to those who want to start their own companies. A range of initiatives are being worked up, including an ambitious target of a £1 billion ‘Springboard Fund’, which would provide a grant of up to £10,000 per individual to help create up to 100,000 businesses. Alongside this, we’re asking successful founders and companies to back the programme by offering mentorship to participants.

Small businesses employ millions of people in the UK and were responsible for 84% of the country’s job growth from 2016 – 2017. Faced with an economic crisis following the coronavirus pandemic, the answer to our recovery lies in the strength of this sector.

Anyone can start a business that, once up and running, can financially support themselves, and go on to employ more people. But many of us don’t have money to spare to get started. UK Springboard will help build an nation of budding entrepreneurs, creating a wave of new businesses that will go onto drive job growth in Britain long-term.

Britain: a nation of entrepreneurs

Our recent study shows that Britain is full of people who have the ideas and ambition to start a business. But at the same time, it highlighted common fears that often hold people back from trying to build a company.

  • Nearly a quarter of UK workers are at risk of losing their job this year.
  • 32% of people would consider starting a business if they lost their job in the coming months.
  • Over three quarters of participants said that needing to find money to pay their bills would stop them from trying to launch a business idea.

What are the Entrepreneur Awards?

We are celebrating the fantastic entrepreneurs across the UK who have thrived during the last year, for example, by starting or growing a business and supporting their local community.

What our founders say

Chris Hulatt

“Britain is home to thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs who haven’t built their businesses because they don’t know how to start or can’t afford to take the risk. If the government could create the right environment to give these people the support they need, it could mobilise a nation full of entrepreneurs to help fight the economic damage caused by coronavirus.”

Simon Rogerson

“We need to do something to help people who have and will lose their jobs, and to drive our economy. Let’s create a UK Springboard with the potential to create thousands of new entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are optimists on warp drive. Occasionally, against all the odds, these people succeed, creating hundreds of jobs for others along the way.” 

How UK Springboard could work

Based on the model of the Octopus internal Springboard for employees, there are several key elements that make up the proposal:

  • A Springboard fund provided by the Treasury. The grant of £10,000 per person can cover day-to-day outgoings like rent, supporting would-be entrepreneurs in the early stages of their business.

  • Encouraging people from diverse backgrounds to become entrepreneurs. This will be achieved by deliberating distributing funding to women, people from ethnic minorities and disadvantaged backgrounds, people with disabilities, and those whose businesses will enter sectors with significant job loss due to coronavirus. 

  • Busting the “someone like me can’t be an entrepreneur” myth. Mentoring schemes will be run by successful entrepreneurs from different walks of life, providing guidance and inspiration.

  • Digital learning for participants. A programme of digital learning will give the aspiring entrepreneurs the business skills they need to succeed. Plus, if their companies aren’t successful, this knowledge will make the founders even more employable in the future.

  • Backing provided by successful entrepreneurs. Companies will be encouraged to offer their support to UK Springboard. They will also be incentivised to help any of their employees who’d like to pursue their own business ideas.

Entrepreneurs in the UK

Our research

Future Founders report 2019

Read our report to find out about the opinions and hopes of the UK’s next generation of entrepreneurs.

Resources from Octopus

29 Jul 2020

100,000 startups in a day

Optimism has all but evaporated.  For the last few months, we’ve woken up to endless stories of businesses going bust or lurching from…
Written by Simon Rogerson