Opinion: It’s time to get started

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Who hasn’t dreamed of setting up their own company? Being your own boss, no-one telling you what to do, in charge of your own destiny – perhaps even getting rich!

Yet statistically hardly anyone does it.

Some say the British fear of failure holds us back compared, say, to our US cousins.

One theory suggests the Californian gold rush created a culture in which people were expected to gamble and fail and gamble again, so in the end failure lost its stigma.

Others say the huge companies which have played such an important part in the economic history of our region offered lifelong employment and influenced society beyond the pit or foundry gates – effectively stifling entrepreneurialism.

But new figures suggest we could be witnessing an exciting cultural shift.

A whopping 6,551 businesses were launched in the Sheffield postcode last year – placing it in the UK top 10 for start-ups.(See page 44)

The most – 468 – were in S10, central Barnsley was second with 363 and S2 – Arbourthorne, Norfolk Park and Manor – was fifth locally with 268 new company registrations. Meanwhile, 3,871 companies opened in Doncaster in the same period.

That’s an incredible total of 10,422 start-ups in South Yorkshire in just one year.

True, millions have been spent encouraging and supporting people into business. Just one example: the Government’s New Enterprise Allowance has helped 1,280 jobseekers to launch their own company in South Yorkshire since 2011. It offers funding and free mentoring.

And today’s figures, culled from Companies House, are raw data which tell us nothing about what those new enterprises do, or how many they employ.

Nevertheless, they put Sheffield ahead of Leeds, Nottingham and Newcastle, prompting StartUp Britain to talk about “impressive pockets of entrepreneurial activity in Yorkshire”.

If 10,000 companies are created every year locally, we could be on the cusp of a dynamic and prosperous future.