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05 December 2017

New research to support the next generation of Wales’ entrepreneurs

FSB is sponsoring new research into Generation Z, and the impact they will have on the future of Wales’ workforce.

Data week shows that there are over 250,000 small businesses in Wales. At the same time, a new generation of entrepreneurs are bringing new and fresh ideas to the table in Wales. We must be fully equipped to support them.

Generation Z are the people born from the year 2000 onwards. Generation Z will be our future competitors, business partners, customers, investors, and suppliers. Understanding their approaches and behaviours when setting up and running the next generation of entrepreneurial ventures in Wales concerns us all.

The research is being carried out by Phil Swan at the University of South Wales, and will focus on how the events that have impacted upon Generation Z will inform their entrepreneurial characteristics. In turn, this will influence how government and policy makers react to the changing business support needs of the next generation.

Phil Swan, author of the research, said: “The timing of the research is fascinating. The study is being carried out at a defining point in the lives of these young entrepreneurs; it will set the scene for future entrepreneurial behaviour over the coming decades, possibly providing us with an indication of how Generation Z will innovate and disrupt existing markets.

“I hope that this research will demonstrate the developing needs of young entrepreneurs in Wales. Research shows that generations shift every twenty years or so. Therefore, we cannot be trying to support the new generation of business owners with outdated modes of business support. We must be able to ask: ‘What do you need?’ instead of the customary ‘what are we giving you?’”

Ben Cottam, FSB Wales Head of External Affairs, said: “This research defines some of the key characteristics that influence the thoughts and behaviours of previous generations, alongside making tentative suggestions for the key actors in the lives of young entrepreneurs. They have grown up at a time of Trump, the new wave of digital innovation and Brexit. How this will impact upon their decision making, and their approach to entrepreneurship and running a business? These are important questions that must be at the forefront of thinking about the future of business support and policy making.”