Entrepreneurship Research Highlights Massive Untapped Potential

Posted on the 3 February 2010

Entrepreneurship Research Highlights Massive Untapped Potential

Results of a national enterprise research study could dramatically increase the number of people in the North East who are looking to explore their entrepreneurial potential.

The ‘Untapped Potential’ research, unveiled at an event hosted by Enterprise UK and One North East last week, highlighted the range of different entrepreneurial personalities of people in the North East and their motivations to become entrepreneurs.The aim of the research, which is the first of its kind, will identify more potential entrepreneurs in the region.

The research challenges the stereotype that all entrepreneurs are ‘Self Starters’, in fact they represent only a minority of those with business potential. It also demonstrates the opportunity of tapping into the talents of a range of enterprising people more effectively.

Seven groups of individuals or ‘personality types’, who displayed similar attitudes to enterprise were identified – from ‘self starters’, who just get on with it, to ‘independence seekers’, ‘creative team players’ and ‘structured planners’.

The results show that 21 percent, the largest percentage of people in the North East, fit into the ‘Structured Planners’ category. They are confident in their own abilities, driven, ambitious and like a challenge. They also have a strong desire for structure and discipline, prefer to plan for the future, but still like to act on opportunities.

Self Starters make up four percent of the North East’s population. They are confident in their abilities, decisive, and regard themselves as natural leaders. They are quick to spot opportunities, and take decisions and do not hesitate to turn business ideas into reality. Independence Seekers make up ten percent, they display strong entrepreneurial characteristics and are confident, creative, and believe that they possess the skills and have the right contacts to set up a business.

Eighteen percent are Creative Team Players, who are confident in their own ability, driven and like a challenge. They display strong preferences for working in teams, sharing ideas and being creative. They prefer to take each day as it comes and be free from structure. They are more likely to take risks, and see change as an opportunity.

Christian Cerisola of North Shields based PR consultancy Quay2Media who spoke at the event is an example of how creative team players can be reluctant to take the plunge on their own. He said: “I wrote down a list of all of the reasons why I should start my own business and all of the reasons why I shouldn’t. Ultimately, the only thing stopping me was that I didn’t want to do it on my own. It was only a chance conversation with my current business partner that led to the creation of Quay2Media.

“I can certainly identify with the creative team player type and I’m sure there are plenty of other people like me out there.”

The research suggests that a majority of people, particularly those who don’t fit into the self-starter category, can be motivated by hearing stories about people who have been in a similar position and felt the same way about exploring and developing their entrepreneurial potential.

Peter Grigg, Head of Policy at Enterprise UK, who presented the research said: “In the current economic climate, the entrepreneurial talent of everyone in society represents a massive untapped resource available to our long-term economic success. Enterprise UK has been working to help promote entrepreneurship to those groups with untapped potential to encourage them to take the next steps on their enterprise journey.”

Tim Pain, Head of Business, Enterprise and Skills at One North East said: “The results of the Untapped Potential research allow us to understand the different attitudes to enterprise so we can better target and tailor support. This research gives us a much better understanding of how we can promote enterprise and business to all kinds of people in the region, and therefore increase start up rates across all groups.”

The Enterprising Places Network in the North East, is jointly funded by One North East and Enterprise UK. It offers a year-round programme of events showcasing the impact of enterprise and the role it can play in transforming places and regenerating communities.

The Untapped Potential research coincides with the announcement of Chance to Change, an event targeting those who are considering self-employment following redundancy or uncertainty about their current position.

Delegates at ‘Chance to Change’ at Newcastle Civic Centre on 22 February, organised by the Entrepreneurs’ Forum in partnership with One North East, will hear from entrepreneurs who have already been through the start-up experience and have the opportunity to meet people who are or have been in a similar position.

Delegates can register for the event by visiting www.chancetochange.co.uk, calling 0870 850 2233 or emailing info@entrepreneursforum.net