It is easy enough to find out how many people are self-employed – just ask HMRC or the Office for National Statistics. But finding out how many people are entrepreneurial is more problematic. In addition to the registering of a formal company ‘entrepreneurship’ includes an invisible attitude to doing business, and the two processes are not an exact match. For example, is the international business person who is content to sell the same widget to the same customers year after year any more entrepreneurial than the market trader who sells sports socks in summer and diversifies into cheap perfume for St. Valentine’s Day? Might the jet-setting widget seller be less entrepreneurial?
Untangling the ‘entrepreneur’ set from the main group of ‘self-employed’ people was at the heart of our market research when establishing Halfpenny Development. The task turned into our report In Their Element: The Case for Investing in Dyslexic Entrepreneurs, available on this website free of charge. In this report we estimate that at least 300,000 dyslexic entrepreneurs work in the UK. Our simple formula had large margins of error built in to the calculations because we could not obtain a definition of ‘entrepreneur’ which was reliable enough to take an accurate roll call. Take entrepreneur Doug Richard’s definition, for example: in his 2010 Entrepreneurs Manifesto he considers all self-employed people as entrepreneurial. Using this wide definition we would be projecting more than 800,000 dyslexic entrepreneurs to be out there in UK plc, nearly treble our own figure. Our company researches how and why dyslexia is linked to entrepreneurship so it would really help if we could reliably know when an entrepreneur is not an entrepreneur.
So how do we decide? We decided to ask you! In July we will be launching a survey on this site where you can tell us what you think entrepreneurship consists of and how we can identify it. So far we have found it to be a tricky distinction to make robustly which is why the more opinions we have the better informed we will be. We hope you can help, so watch this space.
Now, where did I put those sports socks..?