Small businesses are undoubtedly important for the economy. The challengers of big chains, especially small local firms, have long been seen a vital part of communities. Mark Wright, a past winner of UK hit show The Apprentice, would even go as far as to say we would be faced with another recession if it was not for small businesses.
Wright, who won the show in 2014 and was able to launch his marketing and SEO business Climb Online, told IBTimes UK that Britain has the opportunity to significantly improve its small businesses. "When one day small businesses were all gone and we all depended on these massive chains and huge firms, we would see another recession," Wright said.
According to a study conducted by Groupon and Climb Online, people in the UK are keen on setting up their own companies. It revealed 11% of young people (aged between 16 to 24) say founding a business is their ultimate career goal, double the amount of those over the age of 25.
The sharing economy has already caused that 87% of Britons think we will see the end of the nine-to-five working day in our lifetime, while Groupon's research showed one in five people are already making money from their hobby next to their work.
However, funding is needed to maintain the entrepreneurial spirit, Wright said. He added: "I think what young kids don't understand just yet is that it's all good to have an idea, but an idea is nothing unless you've got serious money to go to market with, because PR marketing and getting out and seeing costumers costs a lot of money."
Wright received £250,000 (€350,000, $368,600) from business giant Lord Sugar after winning The Apprentice in 2014 and Climb Online is already turning a profit, which is exceptional for a newly set-up business.
In 2012, the UK government launched the Funding for Lending Scheme and the National Loan Guarantee Scheme to make it easier for small businesses to access funding. Meanwhile, TV programmes such as The Apprentice and BBC2 show Dragons' Den have caused more people to be excited about setting up their own company.
The Federation of Small Businesses has been lobbying to make funding more accessible and because of the popularity, alternative ways to access capital, such as crowdfunding, have become more prominent. Because of the fragile nature of small businesses, banks are more reluctant to lend to them.
"One of the things that the UK doesn't do well enough just yet is inject cash into the businesses that are a goer, while the Americans do that very well," Wright said. Tech gold mine Silicon Valley is one example where lots of companies have now branched out to be firms worth more than $1bn.
"Small companies are hugely important for economies like the UK but also the US and Australia, for example," the Apprentice winner said. "They will just always be a big part of business because you can't rely on the big companies to do everything. The small guys help just as much. They pay the same tax, they pay the same wages."
According to the FSB, small companies account for 99.3% of private sector businesses in the UK, based on 2015 data. Small businesses also employ almost half of the total amount of private sector workers and account for around a third of private sector turnover, adding up to £1.75tn.