A couple of weeks ago, Smarta interviewed Fraser Doherty, the SuperJams founder who started his business at just 14 years old – and we were struck by his level of optimism.
“I think inevitably someone who is starting a business at 14 or 15 is going to have a different outlook on the world than someone who starts a business later in life,” he told us. “Perhaps that naivety and willingness was what made things work in my case, and perhaps there’s an advantage to being young and starting a business.”
It could be this youthful bullishness which explains the results of a survey released earlier this month by entrepreneurs’ support network Shell LiveWIRE, which showed despite conditions imposed by the recession, young entrepreneurs’ confidence has remained unshaken.
The survey found while just 22% of entrepreneurs aged 16-30 said they had become ‘slightly less confident’ about their business, while 17% said they had become ‘a lot more confident’.
More than six in 10 say over the next 12 months, they expect their businesses to improve its performance, while a similar number said they hope to see a growth in demand, increased turnover, and rising profits.
And that confidence is set to be rewarded: yesterday, Shell LiveWIRE announced the 29-strong shortlist for its Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The awards reward ‘outstanding’ young entrepreneurs whose businesses are less than 18 months old.
One lucky winner will receive £10,000 to put into their business at a ceremony which will take place at the end of October. Previous winners have included Glasses Direct’s Jamie Murray Wells and Brewdog’s James Watt.
“Youth is wasted on the young,” George Bernard Shaw said – but we’re not so sure. If the optimism of this lot is anything to go by, Smarta suspects they are using their youth very wisely indeed.