Photo: Mint (Mint)
Photo: Mint
(Mint)

The right ingredients for entrepreneurship

A study finds that most of the entrepreneurs don’t start out successful and most worked as salaried workers before launching their own venture

Mumbai: What is common between Bill Gates, Sir Richard Branson, Michael Bloomberg, Ted Turner and a host of similar personalities? These successful entrepreneurs have all smoked pot at some point in their life. Indeed, some of them support moves to legalize marijuana.

Apparently smoking a bit of weed (only when you’re young, note) can mark you out for becoming a successful entrepreneur in later life.

Academics at Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley, and the London School of Economics’ Department of Management, have been studying the traits that are common to successful entrepreneurs. Their research finding for the right ingredients: “illicit tendencies", coupled with intelligence and a few other factors (helps if mum went to college).

“Besides coming from higher-income families with better-educated mothers, the incorporated—as teenagers—scored higher on learning aptitude tests, had greater self-esteem, and engaged in more aggressive, illicit, risk-taking activities," the study says.

“The combination of “smarts" and “aggressive/illicit/risk-taking" tendencies as a youth accounts for both entry into entrepreneurship and the comparative earnings of entrepreneurs. In contrast to a large literature, we also find that entrepreneurs earn much more per hour than their salaried counterparts."

The study finds that most of the entrepreneurs don’t start out successful and most worked as salaried workers before launching their own venture.

It also finds that most successful entrepreneurs come from a privileged background. A $100,000 increase in family income corresponds to an almost 60% increase in the probability of someone becoming an entrepreneur.

The study comes up with an “Illicit Activity Index" based on drug and alcohol use, delinquency and criminal behaviour. It finds that those who scored above average both on this index and an intelligence test were 60% more likely to become entrepreneurs. “This mixture of learning aptitude and ‘break-the-rules’ behaviour is tightly linked with entrepreneurship,"said the study.

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