Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
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Loughborough University


Entrepreneurs in boardroom

Who wants to be a millionaire?

With their phrases “You’re hired!” and “I want to make you an offer”, the hugely popular reality TV show The Apprentice and the equally popular Dragons’ Den have given us an insight into the world of the young entrepreneur and their relentless drive to succeed. Debbie Hughes meets James Hickie, who’s researched this growing phenomenon.

Last summer Universities Minister David Willetts announced that students should cast-off ‘old-fashioned’ definitions of what constitutes a graduate career and that they shouldn’t be afraid to start their own companies. But how easy is it for a young person to become the next Richard Branson. And is the entrepreneurial spirit something that manifests itself at a very young age or something that develops once we leave the education system and enter the world of work?

Research conducted by James Hickie from Loughborough’s Department of Social Sciences is the first of its kind to look in-depth at how young entrepreneurs – which he has defined as someone under 30 years old, turning over £1 million and employing five or more people – are able to build growth businesses.

Fifteen young entrepreneurs were studied as part of the research project which found that half of the young people had at least one entrepreneurial parent, while a third had another family member who they believed had been influential in their decision to become an entrepreneur

James first became interested in the way young entrepreneurs operated when, as an undergraduate attending the Cambridge Entrepreneurs student society, he saw how young people were able to grasp the concepts of business.

“There was an annual business plan competition and some of the young people entering were able to build substantial businesses and yet had had little work experience,” he says.

“My research looks at the role of the family in a young entrepreneur’s life, what entrepreneurial skills and experiences they utilised, and if they conducted any informal ventures at a young age, to see if this had had an impact on their early success.”

The View

  1. in their best interests the decision-making processes associated with the welfare of children
  2. helping the police to stay on the beat the latest technology that’s having a real impact on policing practice
  3. capitalising on a bright idea enterprising staff who’ve made the leap from academia to industry
  4. the best of both worlds athletes preparing for 2012 are managing an academic career alongside their sporting ambitions
  5. the voice of the people the power of social media as a communication tool is undeniable - and unstoppable
  6. a question of sport researchers have been looking at how and when girls decide to turn their back on an active lifestyle
  7. who wants to be a millionaire? research looking at the role of the family in a young entrepeneur's life
  8. the view round up

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