Exams not vital to be your own boss

ACADEMIC qualifications are far from vital to being a successful entrepreneur, according to a new report.

ACADEMIC qualifications are far from vital to being a successful entrepreneur, according to a new report.

A survey of small business bosses in the North-East has revealed that around a third have a degree and only 12% believe that having a good education is crucial to being a success in business.

The North-East has the fewest entrepreneurs with a degree of all the regions in the UK, with only 36% having been to university, whereas London has the most at 57%.

And the North-East has the fewest small business operators who think of themselves as middle-class, compared with London, which has the most (71%.)

With entrepreneurial spirit at an all time high and more than 3,500 new businesses being formed every quarter in the North-East, educational qualifications are no barrier to success in the region as 24% of our small business owner-managers are educated to GCSE level or below according to the survey by Barclays Local Business.

There are around 4.3 million SMEs in the UK and it seems that graduates of the ‘university of life’ are more switched-on to starting-up alone in business, following in the famous footsteps of Gordon Ramsay, Simon Cowell, Jacqueline Gold and Richard Branson.

With this year’s hike in tuition fees, the National Union of Students estimates that someone starting their three-year degree in London last September could graduate with debts of more than £27,000 so it’s perhaps no surprise that some young people in the UK are choosing to shun higher education in favour of more immediate financial returns.

David Slane, Barclays local business regional director, said: “This survey really does suggest that entrepreneurialism is a quality born to people, rather than taught. At Barclays we offer advice and support to people of all ages and educational background in their quest to succeed in running a business.”

Sean Scott, Founder of Socks On, recent ‘Best New Start’ winner at The Biz Awards comments; “In the world of business I can make things happen, sign deals and hire people. At university I could attend lectures, read books and do homework. There was no comparison in my eyes. I think life is about taking risks and achieving what seems improbable and unexpected. I admire the feckless and courageous and it is usually the entrepreneurs that have these qualities.”


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer