Global Entrepreneurship Week: how has the pandemic catalysed entrepreneurs?

This week is Global Entrepreneurship Week, designed to celebrate ambitious individuals within the business world, and those who have believed in their own abilities and branched out on their own. Despite the waves of shock that the pandemic has brought to the business world, there has been a 12% increase in new businesses starting during 2020 already compared to 2019.

Lockdown and the furlough scheme gave many people the time to re-focus on the next steps for their career, and for many this meant capitalising on their own skills to found a business.

In fact, research from The Future Strategy Club, shows that 34% of Brits say the COVID pandemic has encouraged them to look towards consultancy and freelance work or start their own business.

With new COVID vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, too, the business world - and, indeed, the world in general - is expected to be back to more 'normal' circumstances by the Spring of 2021. This is certainly good news for those do have their ambitions set on launching their own firm.

For those looking towards the route of self-employment in terms of freelance work, The Future Strategy Club are a new type of umbrella or co-agency, who work with freelancers while honing their skills and offering Learning and Development support. They offer a safety net of support for those entrepreneurs who are looking to launch the next phase of their career, but who are perhaps still in need of guidance on how to do so.

The rise of co-agencies, such as The Future Strategy Club, has been prevalent during the lockdown period as an increasing number of workers turn their hand to freelance work as a source of extra income, or as a new career move in the wake of furlough and redundancies.

Justin Small, Founder of The Future Strategy Club, discusses the importance of freelancers post-COVID: “I predict there will be significant growth in the number of entrepreneurs over the next few years or so, whether in a contractor, freelancing or product-focused SME capacity, because the PAYE paycheck may not be the most reliable constant in life planning any longer. Instead, the skills and the experience accrued over decades in professional environments will be invaluable to many businesses trying to adapt to the new normal.

"At The Future Strategy Club, we work with a body of these experienced individuals who now have many years' worth of skills to tap in to, having weathered the 2008 crisis and now COVID-19. Now, with kids and mortgages in tow, stepping back onto an upwards facing career ladder is not on the agenda.

"For the majority of these entrepreneurial self-starters, they see the COVID-19 period as an opportunity to work for themselves, choose their own working environment and gain true security from their own knowledge and skillset.

"Although historically, freelancers have been excluded from the benefits of the permanent workforce - including workplace culture, socialisation and support networks - it is clear that the perception of freelancers and skilled consulting work has long needed an overhaul. Now, with the turbulence caused by the lockdown crisis, the private sector’s reliance on flexible workers will not only become apparent but crucial to its survival, delivering a positive step for the gig economy and its importance to the wider economy.”