AXA research shows more than one in five Brits want to start their own business

29 April 2024

Posted in Surveys and reports

  • A survey carried out by AXA UK to mark the launch of the 2024 AXA Startup Angel competition found that more than one in five people in the UK want to start their own business*
  • More independence and a better work-life balance were the key reasons people cited for wanting to be their own boss
  • 16% of people are already working on a side hustle that could develop into a fully-fledged business

More than one in five Brits want to start their own business or side hustle, according to research.

And a third of those want to make the leap within the next two years.

Becoming your own boss and having more flexibility (both 40 per cent) are the top factors for leaving behind the 9 to 5 and focusing on going it alone.

The poll of 2,000 adults found others valued more independence (35 per cent) and a better work-life balance (35 per cent).

It also emerged 16 per cent already have their own side hustle, while 13 per cent have put savings away to help them reach their goal in the near future.

And while 53 per cent want to go it alone, 29 per cent want to team up with others.

The research was commissioned by AXA as part of its Startup Angel competition, where entrants can win two top prizes of £25,000 in funding plus mentoring from successful entrepreneurs.

Whether it’s turning a side hustle into a business or launching a startup from scratch, it’s clear that being your own boss is on the agenda for many people across the UK. Whatever industry they’re looking to venture into, running a small business requires hard work, determination and a bit of help along the way. Creativity and innovation are the cornerstones but having the necessary support both emotionally and financially is the springboard to success.

Deepak Soni, Director of Small Business Insurance at AXA UK
Headshot of Deepak Soni, Director of SME Business Insurance, AXA UK

Hanan Tantush, an AXA Startup Angel winner from 2023, is one such success story, after she turned her passion project of creating a range of adaptable clothing for people with disabilities into a fully-fledged business.

The 22-year-old launched her company, Intotum, after watching her grandfather struggle to find comfortable and stylish clothing when adapting to life with a stoma and urostomy bag, following his third battle with cancer.

I've been working on adaptive fashion for three to four years, so it's been a long development process – collaborating with the disabled community, I’ve been learning as I design.

Clothing is designed from a standing perspective, all the patterns are made for someone to walk down a catwalk, automatically excluding many with a disability, something I’m passionate about changing.

I chose to start working with wheelchair users, creating my own custom patterns and styles to cater for someone seated, including ambulatory wheelchair users. From there, I’ve gone on to create a whole collection that also caters for people with stomas and sensory needs, which is just the beginning for Intotum.

Hanan Tantush, 2023 AXA Startup Angel winner

GB wheelchair basketball player Amy Conroy, who has represented her country at three Paralympic Games and is set for a fourth in Paris this summer, tried out some of Hanan’s clothes.

It’s great that there are innovative people like Hanan who recognise the everyday challenges faced by people with disabilities and want to make things better for them.

This clothing range could really be a gamechanger and I’m looking forward to trying out more of her designs in the future.

Amy Conroy, GB Paralympic basketball player
Amy Conroy, GB Paralympian and AXA Mind Health Ambassador

It’s fantastic to hear how last year’s winner Hanan has gone from strength to strength with a business that has such a positive impact on people’s lives. We’re delighted that AXA has played a small role in her success, and that she’s been able to turn her passion into her full-time job. It takes a lot of dedication but we know there is a whole raft of entrepreneurs who want to take the next step like Hanan, and we’re here to help them. 

Deepak Soni, Director of Small Business Insurance at AXA UK
Headshot of Deepak Soni, Director of SME Business Insurance, AXA UK

*OnePoll survey of 2000 UK adults.