ENTREPRENEURISM in the present day is almost unrecognisable when compared with the early eighties, a new study by the London School of Economics and Shell Livewire has found.
It reveals that:
Entrepreneurs feel more respected now than at any time during the past 25 years;
Profit is no longer of paramount importance for entrepreneurs – indeed only 50% of entrepreneurs surveyed said making money was their number one priority. Now, entrepreneurs’ main motivation is to create fun and dynamic teams, cultures and lifestyles;
Entrepreneurs’ role models are those renowned for social consciousness and style – the Innocent founders, Richard Branson and dotcom success stories are frequently mentioned as heroes of today’s entrepreneurs. When asked which entrepreneur they preferred – Richard Branson or Alan Sugar – 84% voted for Branson;
Today’s entrepreneurs see themselves as being mainstream – entrepreneurialism as a career is no longer especially maverick or heroic.
The report was commissioned by Shell Livewire to mark its 25th anniversary. Livewire was created by Shell to foster a spirit of entrepreneurship across the UK. Shell Livewire provides support for 16-30 year olds starting up their own business.
Don Slater, reader in sociology at LSE and author of the research, said: “I find some of these findings jaw-dropping. Who would have thought that creating fun environments is more important to entrepreneurs than making money or that entrepreneurs would feel more respected now compared to 20 years ago?
“The study is unique and provides a fascinating insight into how entrepreneurs have changed over the past 25 years.”
The study combined in-depth interviews with businesses that were involved in the Livewire programme over the past 25 years and a poll of over 800 of today’s entrepreneurs.
James Smith, chairman of Shell UK, said: “For 25 years, Shell Livewire has been successful in helping young people start businesses. Shell has always recognised the important role innovative, young people play in creating an entrepreneurial society in the UK. They are an inspiration to us all, both within Shell and in the wider community. I’m delighted Shell Livewire has stood the test of time and this study is a fitting tribute to mark its 25th anniversary.”
Livewire’s mission is to help unearth and support the young entrepreneurs of today who will create the jobs, wealth and innovations of tomorrow. Shell Livewire does this through marrying inspiration and encouragement with practical help that can only come from experienced business people who understand the challenges of building a business.
Its programme has been unsuccessful and in the past three years alone has provided more than 70,000 young people, from all backgrounds, with tailored business start-up advice. Livewire has now been developed in more than 20 countries.