Lockdown 3 brought out the entrepreneurial spirit in UK workers, inspiring a 19% increase in the number of companies created in Q1 2021 compared to the same period in 2020. Research by Virgin StartUp, Virgin’s not-forprofit entrepreneurial hub, reveals that one in three Brits would like to set up their own business. Approximately two million people (5% of the workforce) say they have started a side project during lockdown, with a further one in four interested in starting a business alongside their main employment. Motivations include wanting to be one’s own boss (49%), finding a better work-life balance (45%) and unhappiness with existing jobs (17%). Companies House data shows that an average of 15,751 businesses were set up in Q1 this year – an increase of 19% compared to the same period in 2020. www.virginstartup.org
THE AGE OF SUCCESS
Thirty-five, it seems, is a good age to start your own tech company. However, to be very successful, you should really have taken this step by the age of 25. Analysis of the UK’s largest tech companies by Bruntwood SciTech shows that founders were on average just 35 when they started the business and just 25 in the case of the five largest tech companies. It also identifies February as the month in which the most successful tech company founders are born. bruntwood.co.uk/blog/whats-thebest-age-to-start-a-tech-business?
VACCINE PASSPORT SUPPORT
More than one third of UK employers are supportive of vaccine passports (36%) and plan to mandate COVID vaccinations in their workplace (37%), claims HR software platform Employment Hero. Its research shows that 24% of workers feel pressurised by their employer to have a vaccine, with people in London 42% more likely to feel this way than those in other cities. Even so, 84% of employers and employees surveyed want the vaccine. This figure falls to 56% among Gen Z employees aged 18-24. https://employmenthero.com/uk
Almost half (44%) of home workers have had monitoring software installed on work devices by an employer, causing 24% to use personal devices to avoid being watched. Kaspersky warns that greater use of surveillance tools for monitoring email (cited by 16%), internet and app usage (15%), phone use (12%) and location tracking (9%) is leading to the growth of shadow IT, with serious implications for network security. Greater use of surveillance tools has consequences for employee morale too, with 32% warning that it would make them less trusting of their manager and 30% saying they would find the invasion of their privacy upsetting – so much so that 26% said they would lodge a complaint with an independent body and 24% said they would leave their current job.
Business owners are set to spend an average of £75 per employee on return to work purchases over the next two months. All businesses surveyed by Hampers.com said they would be spending money on PPE and cleaning equipment, with many also planning to spend money on perks, such as food and drink for the office (55%), ‘thank you’ gifts for staff (47%) and private transport to and from work (8%). www.hampers.com
SOCIAL MEDIA SCEPTICS
A large majority of CEOs are highly sceptical about the benefits of social media marketing, claims martech company Bango. A survey of 200 CEOs for its Board to Death report shows that 60% of CEOs believe the marketing potential of social media has been exaggerated; 59% say social channels don’t generate sales for their business; 62% believe too much marketing budget is wasted on activities that don’t deliver meaningful results; and 77% don’t regard digital advertising as a reliable source of new customers or sales. https://bango.com/board-to-death/
DIGITAL DIVIDE NARROWS
New research from Ofcom suggests that the pandemic has narrowed the UK’s digital divide, with the proportion of homes without internet access falling from 11% in March 2020 to 6% in March 2021, as lockdowns forced adults with previously limited digital skills to embrace online shopping, digital banking and video calling, often assisted by younger friends and relatives. This still leaves 1.5 million homes without internet access.
ZOOM APP FUND
Zoom has set up a $100 million venture fund to stimulate growth of the Zoom ecosystem of apps, integrations and hardware. The Zoom Apps Fund will provide developer partners that have viable products and early market traction with an initial investment of between $250,000 and $2.5 million to build solutions that help Zoom customers meet, communicate and collaborate. zoom.com/fund