Starting a business on your own has never been an easy path to follow, but for those who take the plunge, it can be a rewarding one. No matter what your first entrepreneurial project is, support is always necessary, whether that’s your family helping you to pack your first shipment or financial assistance from government schemes.

Making your way in business continues to be difficult in the wake of recent global events and given the difficult economic landscape young entrepreneurs are faced with today, you could argue that the hill to climb is steeper than ever. Those odds can seem even slimmer when almost 60% of small businesses fail in their first three years of life. While there are barriers, there are also ways for young people to find the support they need and overcome those hurdles to enjoy business success.

The power of social media

Social media is one of the great levellers for businesses around the world. While funding issues and skills gaps are hurdles to overcome, when marketing online, you find yourself with the same opportunities as large corporations through social media. Companies that can generate a huge following through original content can then translate that presence into sales.

For example, the parkour brand STORROR gained a following of millions through its YouTube videos before successfully segueing into the world of parkour clothing. Or take the Dollar Shave Club, which began with a viral video in 2012 that acted as the launchpad for the company’s continued success.

Financial business support for young people

Starting a business requires investment, be that from your own wealth, that of your family, or from investors and banks. But most young people haven’t had the time to build up significant investment funds so they need to come from somewhere else. Fortunately, there are several avenues for young entrepreneurs to pursue when seeking funding support for their businesses.

Small business loans

Small business loans from the bank are typically between £1,000 and £50,000 and should provide enough capital to start most entrepreneurial ventures. But you will need to present your case well to the bank as they need to be convinced that you are a sound investment. Similarly, young entrepreneurs can seek help from the government with a Start Up Loan that ranges from £500 to £25,000.

You must create a business plan that is complete with facts, figures, and projections so you must do your homework and thorough market research for a successful loan application. Outlining in detail how you will use the investment and what your strategy will be are also important to put forward to earn the trust of bank loan managers.


The benefit of crowdfunding investment is that you already have interested parties in your products, services, and brand before you kick things off. This process allows entrepreneurs to raise funds for their business online by offering a small stake in the company. It is similar to selling shares and some companies have raised millions of pounds through micro-investments.

Small business grants

Government grants are available for startups to help cover the costs of buying equipment, premises, and other essential infrastructure. These can be tricky to apply for as each grant provider is looking for different things, and you don’t want to waste precious resources trying to obtain a grant that you aren’t eligible for.

You may also be eligible for green business grants that aim to help companies become more sustainable and environmentally friendly. This can help with installing LED lights, insulation, more efficient heating, or alternative energy sources.

Improving your skills

To run a business well you not only need to have the technical expertise for your chosen field but you also need to understand the finances involved, how to manage people and supply chains, and keen problem-solving skills. You may wish to figure things out as you go but it can be helpful to give yourself a sound foundation in some of the skills you will need for success.

Consider entering a mentorship program to have someone with experience take you under their wing or try youth entrepreneurship schemes that aim to improve and develop your business leadership skills. For example, Youth Business International equips disadvantaged young people to help them build the skills, confidence, and connections they need to beat the odds and become successful business owners.

Digital skills for social mobility

Given the range of barriers along the way, such as poverty and social inequality, social mobility in the UK is difficult for many to achieve. But technology is providing a springboard for social mobility as the demand for digital skills continues to rise. From cybersecurity services to digital marketing and content creation, there are a host of startup ventures that young entrepreneurs can embark on that leave traditional business models in the past.