1 in 6 Australians start their own businesses because they can’t find work

Elizabeth Barry 14 December 2016

woman starting small business

A new study from Xero has revealed our motivations for starting businesses.

New research from online accounting provider Xero shows that nearly one in six Australians (16%) start their own businesses out of necessity rather than desire. These Australians were spurred to start their own business after difficulty finding employment due to language or age barriers as well as being held back by disabilities and lack of skills.

Managing director of Xero Australia Trent Innes said the results were unexpected.

"It’s surprising and inspiring that many Aussie small business owners are scratching their entrepreneurial itch in order to overcome employment obstacles,” he said. "While setbacks due to these factors are disappointing to hear about, the data demonstrates that Australians are resourceful and resilient in the face of challenges."

The survey, which sought the opinions of more than 340 small business owners, also found that more than half (55%) of Australians started small businesses out of a desire to be their own boss, while 42% were looking to increase their income.

The number of Australian small businesses are growing, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing an additional 21,000 businesses for the 2014-15 period, the last available statistics. This may be due to the rise of the alternative finance sector for businesses, helping businesses to fund growth.

“It’s really important to note that starting a small business isn’t just about having an idea, getting going, and then sitting back and watching the money roll in,” Innes said.

Despite this, the Xero survey revealed that more than a quarter (28%) of businesses were successful from day one while 38% became successful in the first year.

Innes said Xero organised the survey to learn more about what drives their business customers.

“We wanted to better understand what motivates small business owners to do what they do each day so set out to identify the small sparks behind Aussie businesses," said Innes.

"We know this spark – that light bulb moment that leads to their small business – starts out as just something small. But it changes the lives of these people and those around them by driving growth and creating jobs. The more of these sparks we have, the quicker we can grow the small business economy.”

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