Sturgeon Ventures has seen the number of inquiries from City workers looking for help to set up their own businesses rise ten-fold in the last three months.

Sturgeon, which specialises in helping entrepreneurs establish start-up financial services businesses in the institutional space, says City workers tired of bonus cuts and taxes as well as the restrictions of working in big organisations are finding more confidence to set up on their own this year as the shock of the financial crisis abates.

It received around 25 inquiries in 2009 but it is now fielding around 20 or more a month, equating to an approximate ten-fold increase.

Sturgeon is finding that while many financial workers, especially those working in banks, might be encouraged to leave the UK for less draconian tax regimes, many are also tempted to stay in the City and set up their own businesses. The vast majority of inquiries it receives are from bank or ex-bank workers, many of whom want to provide advice on how to trade distressed debt.

Seonaid Mackenzie, managing partner of Sturgeon, says: “Clearly, the banks cutting bonuses this year is a major factor in driving staff to start their own ventures. The chances are many people won’t get a bonus this year and some are being told they won’t get what they have earned for several years. That has given people the initial impetus to set up on their own.

“But it is also true that people in the City feel much more confident than last year, when it felt like the shutters were being pulled down everywhere. There will always be entrepreneurialism in the City; people make money, get experience in big firms and later decide they want to control their own destiny. That will never go away.”


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