Last night I sat down to watch the new series of The Apprentice. This time there are 20 candidates all brimming with exciting business opportunities.  Each one of them proudly introducing themselves as The Next Big Thing, bandying the word “entrepreneur” around in the same way that “legend” and “genius” get over used these days.

This got me thinking “what is an entrepreneur” and what is the current state of real entrepreneurship in the UK?

The Oxford English Dictionary definition is:

noun: entrepreneur • plural noun: entrepreneurs
1. a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.
"many entrepreneurs see potential in this market
synonyms: businessman • businesswoman • business person •
business executive • enterpriser • speculator • tycoon • magnate • dealer • trader • buyer and seller • merchant • commercial intermediary • intermediary • middleman • promoter • impresario • wheeler-dealer • mogul • big shot • bigwig • whizz-kid • mover and shaker • go-getter • high-flyer • hustler
2. a promoter in the entertainment industry.
"the music entrepreneur pulled back from financing a screenplay Hopper had written"

Looking at the synonyms: “big shot,” “mover and shaker,” “go-getter” all the types of descriptions The Apprentice candidates would use of themselves.

In 2013 the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor ( measured the entrepreneurial activity of individuals in 70 economies.  The report compared entrepreneurial attitudes, activity and aspirations in the UK, France, Germany and the US.  Amongst the findings (published in 2013) there was a continued growth in the rate of female entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship amongst the over 50’s.  Entrepreneurial activity in the UK was highest amongst those aged 35 – 44.

Smith & Williamson have recently produced “The Entrepreneur Revolution” in which they talk about some of the issues that can stop entrepreneurs from succeeding as well as offering advice on how to overcome these hurdles.  One of the areas they highlight is around raising funding – that there appears to be a funding gap and that information on what funding is available is not always easy to find. 
There has been a surge in entrepreneurial activity – in part due to the small number of high profile multi-millionaire entrepreneurs.  A recent survey by Cubitt Consulting shows that: “60% of sixth form students in the UK now list “entrepreneur” as their career of choice.”

I wonder if this fact fuels The Apprentice hopefuls!  Roll on the next 12 weeks as we watch this latest batch of entrepreneurs learn a little bit more about themselves and perhaps a little bit of humility too!