↑ Dyslexia-friendly Colours
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Evidence needed on Entrepreneurship

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Oh for a pen and the back of an envelope

Bank of England deputy governor Paul Tucker reminded us this week why old school pen and paper can still make the grade when you need to archive the most important data.

Mr. Tucker was answering MPs’ questions about Barclays Bank and their Libor submissions. He told the Treasury Select Committee that he wished he had “taken a note” of a telephone conversation he had in 2008 with Barclay’s boss Bob Diamond because he thought Mr. Diamond’s account of the conversation given to MPs – which Mr. Diamond had written down at the time - “gives the wrong impression”. Oh for a pen and the back of an envelope…Unfortunately because Mr. Tucker has no record of his version of events he has introduced an element of guesswork into the Committee’s proceedings. Michael Hewson from CMC Markets referred to it now being an issue of “perception” over who said what to whom in place of hard evidence we can rely on.

Mr. Tucker’s case demonstrates that recording events in any way can be valuable in helping others in the future to understand your knowledge and circumstances. Our entrepreneurial survey aims to gather knowledge of what it means to be “entrepreneurial” and the circumstances surrounding it (see my previous blog entry). It focuses on psychological and behavioural variables which studies over the years have generally agreed are significant in identifying entrepreneurship. These variables are among the few things researchers have actually agreed upon. John Cavill’s discussion paper Growth Entrepreneurship (1) includes an engaging review of the literature in this area and explains how, in nearly three centuries of discourse, there has not been a lasting consensus over the methods and attributes of the entrepreneur.

Ultimately our research aims to explore the link between entrepreneurship and dyslexia and show the ways in which it is significant for economic growth. This will contribute to the emerging paradigm which stresses the advantages dyslexia can bring to business. As John Cavill says:

“Public opinion of dyslexia may well need to be reassessed as a ‘gift’ to nascent entrepreneurs that potential investors should become more aware of.”

Mr. Cavill quotes research which:

“seems to suggest that detecting the presence of attributes known to enhance venture success becomes critical to predicting the performance of a new venture.”

We know from Cass Business School (2) that dyslexic entrepreneurs tend to create more jobs and firms than non-dyslexic entrepreneurs. Having a significant effect on these two vital lynchpins of the economy must place dyslexia in Cavill’s “critical” category of entrepreneurial attributes we should know about as a matter of routine. This knowledge will help investors predict performance with more confidence and ultimately pick more winners.

In 2005 the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) (3) called for action to be taken in significant entrepreneurial circumstances. It examined high expectation entrepreneurial activity in 44 countries and, according to Cavill, suggested that governments should:

  • “be aware of the importance of [this] entrepreneurial activity and consider introducing highly selective support measures and policies [which] could prove more effective for job creation”;
  • “introduce an element of selectiveness in entrepreneurship policy to account for uneven contributions by different types of entrepreneurial activity to both wealth and job creation”;
  • “develop sophisticated support measures to deal with the specific support needs of high-expectation entrepreneurial ventures”.

Cavill describes these support measures as “targeted educational programmes” for investors, entrepreneurs and their business advisors. These programmes would enable everyone to:

“better understand what human capital factors drive new venture success, and where necessary develop those skills”.

Halfpenny Development Ltd. delivers services to enhance the ‘human capital factor’ in dyslexic entrepreneurs. We want to be as accurate as we can about what this entails. This process includes ‘taking a note’ of what people think in order to minimise ‘perception’ of entrepreneurship and maximise knowledge of it. We would be delighted if you made use of our digital pen and back of an envelope by adding your views to our short entrepreneurial survey.

add your views to survey here



1. Cavill, J., 2007, Growth Entrepreneurship, Intermezzo Ventures Ltd

2. Logan, J., 2009, Dyslexic Entrepreneurs: The Incidence; Their Coping Strategies and Their Business Skills, Cass Business School & John Wiley & Sons

3. GEM, 2005, Report on High-Expectation Entrepreneurship, London Business School

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