Elite Business: Entrepreneurs aren’t quite what they seem, claim Barclays and the University of Cambridge

‘The study also broke down the entrepreneurs into three specific subsets – females, seniors and migrants – and there were again distinct traits that characterised each group.

Female entrepreneurs were found to be more modest than men, with just 42% saying their business is prospering compared to 62% of males. This despite the fact that female-run businesses were shown on average to report higher pre-tax profits. Nevertheless, women were revealed to show greater entrepreneurial ambitions, with 47% claiming they are very or extremely interested in starting another business in the next three years compared to 18% of men. Finally, female entrepreneurs are generally more risk-averse than their male counterparts, tending to favour steady, profitable expansion and the reinvestment of profits over equity investment, fast growth and a quick exit.

As for the senior entrepreneurs – those above the age of 50 who have started their own business – 70% cited the ‘freedom to make decisions’ as the main incentive for setting up an enterprise; while less than half of those aged under 50 regarded it as an influencing factor. And whereas the older generation may exhibit the same propensity for risk, innovation, initiative, self-efficacy and autonomy as younger entrepreneurs, they were revealed to be more motivated by the prospect of personal success. They are also more liberal, artistic and well-organised and score above average for extroversion. This, according to the study, paints a picture of open, outgoing and conscientious leaders.

Meanwhile, migrant entrepreneurs, who are behind one in seven UK companies and create 14% of all SME jobs, have a similar psychological profile to native entrepreneurs but tend to be more conservative with less need for personal autonomy. In addition, migrants are more likely to believe in luck or fate – leading to spontaneous behaviour – and perceive income and financial stability as more significant barriers to business creation than natives.’

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