Research analysing UK universities and their rate of students becoming business owners finds that London produces the most entrepreneurs

Each university has its own reputation and academic successes, but is there a university that produces more business owners than others?

Researchers find that most business founders graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science, with more than 11% of their alumni starting a company.

However, another top university for prospective business founders is the University of Oxford.

Examining this, business loans experts analysed alumni pages on LinkedIn for each university to see how many graduates were listed as company founders to determine which university produces the most business owners, noting how attending a certain university can adapt your career prospects.

12 out of 20 top universities for future business owners are located in London

While The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is one of the top universities for prospective business owners, with 29,767 alumni starting their own businesses, the University of Oxford is another top university for potential business owners, with 27,300 out of a total of 278,988 alumni establishing their own businesses.

18% of students who studied business at Oxford went on to start their own company, the highest rate of any university graduate that studied the subject.

The research had no doubt that the largest proportion of business owners were from a London university.

38% of student startups are founded at London universities

London’s universities are the best for future business founders, with 12 of the top 20 universities located in the capital.

London is the biggest hub for startup activity in the UK, with 38% of student startups being founded at London universities, where at least 10% of graduates from the University of the Arts, London, go on to form their own businesses.

What subjects do successful students study for this career?

Business is not the only route to entrepreneurship, as economics is the most popular university subject for new business owners from the University of Oxford – with 8,705 business owners studying the subject.

Marketing was the most popular subject for entrepreneurs at this university, with 1,936 business founders studying this topic.

Other successful degrees included business studies (1,901 students) and mass communication and media studies (987 students).

Among all of the universities studied, the University of the Arts, London, had the most marketing students go on to start their own businesses, followed by the University of Cambridge, LSE, and London Metropolitan University.

Harper Adams University was considered the worst for new business founders, with only 289 of their 11,829 listed alumni going on to create a company.

fashion business owner measuring a dress
Image © valentinrussanov | iStock

What factors do entrepreneurs need to consider when starting their own business?

Researchers note that ambition and determination are key characteristics for becoming a business owner.

This study highlights how to tailor your education to build skills, knowledge and potential networking opportunities is vital for prospective entrepreneurs.

Is there profit in the idea?

One of the biggest mistakes people make when starting a business is underestimating the costs involved.

You want to make sure that whatever you do will be profitable eventually, and you don’t want to get into debt. You will need to consider start-up fees, cost of supplies, accountancy, legal and insurance fees, how much tax you’ll pay and more.

Is it something people will pay for?

Will the wider public agree with your business vision? See if you can get opinions from a wider network or group to test your plan out.

How to set up a business

The three main options for your business structure, when you start a business, are sole trader, partnership or limited company.

You also need to consider insurance, licences, setting up a business bank account and potentially even PAYE. All of these will factor into your start-up costs, so you need to explore all areas thoroughly to make sure your business can work.

How to check if a business idea is legal

Understand industry-specific rules and regulations when beginning your business – For instance: if you’re planning on working with food, you may need a specific licence.

Additionally, if you’re planning to sell to consumers, there are strict laws about returns and rights.

If you’re not sure if your business idea is legal, do some careful research, and check the government laws associated with the area to see whether there are other businesses doing similar things.

“You need the right combination of knowledge, attitude, and work ethic”

James Andrews, business loans expert, commented on the factors to consider before starting a business:

“To start your own business, you need the right combination of knowledge, attitude, and work ethic, but your university of choice and the subject you study also seem to be important influencing factors.

“With so many universities offering exceptional education and potential networking opportunities, this research shows that certain universities have the essential components to create business founders.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here