Nature or nurture?This post is sponsored by Ernst & Young.

Ernst & Young recently released Nature or nurture: Decoding the entrepreneur, a report based on a survey of 685 entrepreneurs worldwide and in-depth interviews with winners of the firm’s Entrepreneur Of the Year award. The report provides insights into the shared characteristics, frustrations, and career goals of some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs are made, not born:

  • Nearly 60% have worked in a corporate environment and 33% say working in a corporate environment was key to the success of their business.
  • 45% of entrepreneurs start their first business after the age of 30.
  • 10% of entrepreneurs have started ten or more companies.

This research challenges the stereotype that all entrepreneurs start their companies without completing a formal education and without any experience of corporate life. Although many of the entrepreneurs surveyed started at a young age, 45% of the respondents said they did not start their business until they were 30 or older. And nearly 60% described themselves as “transitioned” entrepreneurs, who had worked in a corporate environment before setting out on their own.

When asked about the most important source of learning in terms of their career, one third of respondents (the highest ranking) said it was their experience as an employee. 30% said higher education and 26% credited mentors.

Maria Pinelli, the new Global Vice Chair Strategic Growth Markets for Ernst & Young explains, “Entrepreneurial leaders are defined as much by their early business experience, cultural background, and external environment as they are by any innate personal characteristics. Nurture not nature does appear to be more important in shaping the entrepreneurial mindset.” To read more, click here.


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