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Research Gives Insight into Characteristics of Entrepreneurs

The proportion of people from ethnic minorities and migrants starting their own firms has risen sharply since the financial crisis, at the same time as more modest increases among white people and life-long residents. 

This is the finding of new analysis by researchers at Aston University in Birmingham, using data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), sponsored by NatWest, which also found that people from ethnic minority communities and migrants are more likely to be motivated by creating ‘meaning’ – rather than just making money – when starting a business than white British men.

This year’s GEM report introduced a new measure around people’s motivations for starting their business, revealing big differences between ages, genders, ethnicities and socio-economic groups.

Two-thirds (66%) of women said they started a business to contribute to society, while just two-fifths of men (39%) had the same motivation. There was also a 20 percentage-point gap in the share of men and women who were motivated to start a business to help others in need (38% compared to 58%).

Individuals from non-white ethnic backgrounds, immigrants to the UK and people under the age of 30 are more likely to be strongly motivated by both making money and creating meaning than those from white ethnic backgrounds or aged 30 or over. Making money is more important to individuals with low or no educational qualifications.

“This year’s Global Entrepreneurship Monitor highlights the different motivations that entrepreneurs have for starting their own business,” commented Alison Rose, NatWest’s CEO of Commercial & Private Banking. “While making money and working for yourself will always be important, making a difference to society and ‘creating meaning’ are as important, if not more, among a number of demographics, particularly women, ethnic minorities and younger people.”

“Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the UK economy and it’s incumbent upon all of us to create an environment in which entrepreneurs can flourish,” she added. “By understanding the motivations of the individual, we can tailor the support we provide, ensuring it meets the specific needs of the entrepreneur and their business.”

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