According to a recent press release from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), there were just over 3500 graduate startups in 2012-13, which is the year for the latest results. These employed over 15,500 staff, or about 4-5 members per startup. These are for across the UK. and show that startups can help with employment, but not always in large numbers. If we look at Scotland on its own, then we see that were only 152 graduate startups in the same period employing 730 people, so again employing about 4-5 people per startup. Again, much the same as for the UK as a whole.
Ideally, startups should employ more people, and it can be done. Look at how many people firms like Skyscanner and Freeagent are employing these days. It just shows that the growth comes later, and that a firm needs to persevere in order to become successful. As Biz Stone, a co-founder of Twitter says in a recent Wall Street Journal piece, “…perseverance and 10 years of really hard work will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” The other interesting part of his interview was the confession that they built something, and then looked for a business model. They didn’t start with a business plan. They first determined that they had a problem worth solving.
The startup is just the beginning. The real hard work follows. For all of this there is help at hand, but you need to take the first step.