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Britain is a nation of Branson and Sugar wannabes: 75% dream of becoming their own boss

Flying the flag: Sir Richard Branson

The entrepreneurial spirit among Britons runs deep. More than three-quarters of Brits, and particularly young people,  dream of being their own boss.

While the prospect of long hours, increased stress and a long haul to success weighs heavily on the minds of those keen on starting their own business, more than half cite the hope of a striking a better work-life balance as a major motivating factor.

According to new research from St. James’s Place Academy, the training and development arm of the FTSE-100 financial services company, 78% of men and 73% of women aged 25-55 said they had dreams of becoming an entrepreneur.

More than half of all 2,000 quizzed thought that having more control/setting their own hours would be the best thing.

A further 21% thought that better job satisfaction would result, 15% believe they could increase their earnings and 11% like the idea of working from wherever they like.

“It’s also great news to see women and men equally enthusiastic about the prospect of running their own businesses – indeed, the entrepreneurial vision seems to be something that unites the sexes rather than dividing them,” said Adrian Batchelor, academy director at St. James’s Place Academy.

When it comes to perceptions of what might be the hardest thing about running a business, men and women slightly differed.

A significant minority of women think that managing the finances would be the hardest thing (30%) compared to the 38% of men who think attracting customers would be the toughest challenge.

Started small: perhaps Britain’s mot famous entrepreneur, Lord Alan Sugar (Getty)

Roughly equal numbers of men and women thought that long hours (19%) and stress (16.5%) would be the hardest thing to deal with.

“As the future of our success depends on a steady stream of people wanting to run their own business to join the Academy, we’re relieved to discover that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and kicking in the UK,” added Mr Batchelor.

Younger workers (those aged between 18-35) are more predisposed to the entrepreneurial dream (82%) than older people in employment (58% of those aged 55+).

And Londoners are the most entrepreneurially-minded (81% want to run their own business) while the Scottish are the least (69%).

St. James’s Place Academy is hosting an event – Inspiring Women – on 23rd November in London.