Do UK entrepreneurs have a confidence complex?

Samuel Johnson’s quote ‘self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings’ came to mind at yesterday’s Microsoft Innovation Day.Research commissioned by Microsoft for the event drew some surprise conclusions about the obstacles holding back more budding entrepreneurs and innovators from actually taking the plunge.Surprisingly, especially given the supposed credit crunch, 90% were confident they’d be able to secure the funding they needed for the rest of 2008. But despite this, 80% remained pessimistic about the economy and 40% wouldn’t encourage others to start a business in the current climate.If the figures are to be believed they suggest there’s a whole host of entrepreneurs out there with great ideas and the access to the money to fund them, not doing anything about it - that's criminal!The Global Economic Monitor stats released earlier this year showed a lower percentage of Brits were starting-up compared to many developing countries such as China, while the government white paper 'Innovation Nation', called for a greater need to encourage innovation through enterprise and collaborative support from both the public and private sectors.Gordon Frazer, Microsoft MD, put it far simpler: “There’s not enough being done on the ground to encourage people to take their dreams and turn them into reality. In many cases it’s more likely to be a lack of confidence, than a lack of funding that is the problem.”He’s right. Tax, red tape and lack of finance discourage, frustrate and hold back entrepreneurs, but do they actually stop them? In most cases, thankfully not. So what’s left? It has to be a cultural complex that it’s just ‘too difficult’ to start-up in the UK - and that’s where the US remains streets ahead.As a nation when will we start SHOUTING about small business success instead of simply patting it on the head and running straight back to the City? Flick over the BBC business news, today's FT or take another look at the Budget, and you won't find much to suggest it's anytime soon.

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