Aspiration America, British version: Predicting entrepreneurship in teens

by Ryan Streeter on July 9, 2012. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

I’ve been moving over the past week, so between walls of boxes and the usual “why doesn’t the ice maker work and do we need new shelves in the closet?” sorts of conversations and ensuing trips to the hardware store, I’ve been away from the keyboard a bit.

Resurfacing this morning, I found this (gated) study of British entrepreneurs born in 1970 of interest. There’s a powerpoint of the findings here.

The important contribution of the study is in how it finds predictors of entrepreneurship during childhood. In the powerpoint, I found this one interesting:

  • Bright, but academically disengaged young people – even by age 10.

There’s probably a lot to unpack in that finding, but I’ll save that for some other time. Anecdotally, though, it’s worth noting that a lot of successful entrepreneurs were not front-row students.

The study finds that entrepreneurs are not marked by academic achievement, though their teachers give them high marks in terms of their general knowledge.

A couple of other predictors of entrepreneurship during the teen years:

  • Strong peer relations
  • High self-esteem
  • Entrepreneurial values and intentions at early age
  • Having a self-employed parent

Coming from a higher-than-average socioeconomic background also helps, as does having an aggressive personality.

H/t to Tyler Cowen for the link.