Our Impact, Evaluation and Research Team have been looking at the importance of the Digital Enterprise Sector in the UK. Here's what they found.

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Source: Tech City UK (2015). Tech Nation. Powering the Digital Economy 2015. p.17

Digital enterprise is booming in the UK and its significance for the future development of Britain’s economy continues to grow. The latest Tech City report highlighted that 15% of total UK companies that were founded between the years 2013 and 2014 were digital companies. In addition, approximately 1.46 million people are currently employed in digital companies across the UK and an additional 45,000 jobs are advertised. However, many reports fail to mention the success stories of young people in the digital world and what opportunities and challenges the digital sector presents for the younger generation.

The involvement of students and young people in the digital enterprise sector push has been growing considerably in the last few years and has the potential to grow even further in the upcoming years. Nesta’s Young Digital Makers report highlighted that 82% of respondents are interested in digital making, which signifies the immense potential for future digital entrepreneurs. An analysis of Companies House data found that 26,400 people aged 21 or younger are listed as directors of limited companies. This is in line with the results of NACUE’s Big Network survey, which uncovered that 6% of our network own a digital enterprise. According to these research findings, this rise of a generation of entrepreneurs is due to the growth of the app economy. Particularly sectors like app creation and online media provide a considerable amount of opportunities for young people to open businesses within the technology sector. This trend is also reflected in statistical figures. For example in 2014, 18% of apps in the UK were developed by people between the ages of 13 and 25 (UK App Economy Report, Vision Mobile, 2014).

However, with digital enterprise on the rise in the UK, digital businesses are faced with challenges surrounding the recruitment of new talent, which is essential to grow and scale these companies. Digital firms pointed out that many young people lack awareness of what the digital community has to offer. Furthermore, NACUE’s Government and Enterprise survey highlighted that the majority (80%) of survey respondents felt that the current education system does not equip youth preparing for a career in digital enterprise adequately. Therefore, it is vital to develop young people’s digital skills through suitable education programmes and practical experiences in form of apprenticeships and internships.

See the results of our Big Network Survey here.

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