Saturday 21 September 2019

Fear of failure a business barrier for 70pc of Irish adults

University graduates have a bigger fear of business failure
University graduates have a bigger fear of business failure

Paul O'Donoghue

Over half of Irish adults have considered setting up a business but 70pc are too afraid to do anything about it for fear of failure, according to a new study.

The finding is contained in the Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report, which surveys almost 50,000 people across 44 countries. As part of the global study Amway, a US marketing giant, polled a representative group of 1,000 Irish people during the first half of June.

The study found for 70pc of Irish respondents, the fear of failing is an obstacle to starting a business. This was roughly in line with the rest of Europe, where the average was 69pc.

Only three other countries globally, ranked higher than Ireland on fear of failure; Japan with 94pc, while India and Italy were both at 90pc. Specifically, 28pc were most afraid of "financial burdens up to bankruptcy" while a quarter were most wary of the threat of economic crisis.

The study also found that respondents with more education tended to have more of a fear of failure: 76pc of those with a university degree perceived the fear of failure as obstacle to starting a business compared to 66pc for those without.

Those under 35 were also more likely to view fear as a barrier than those over 50 (73pc compared to 64pc).

The Dean of the School of Business at National College of Ireland, Professor Jimmy Hill, said that the fear of failure "closely related to the fear of financial loss or ruin.

"Irish views have inevitably been impacted by the recent economic crisis which saw economic ruin for many," he said.

"What is surprising is that for respondents under the age of 50 the fear of failure is stronger. It could be explained by something as simple as the 'maturity' factor where experience in those over 50 shapes a more relaxed view."

Commenting on the finding that respondents with more education tended to have more of a fear of failure he said: "The only rational justification for this position has to be rooted in the exposure of graduates to more information on the consequences of failure. There might even be some relationship with the old adage that over-analysis, in this case entrepreneurial risk, leads to paralysis."

Despite the fear factor, Irish people hold a very positive attitude towards entrepreneurship compared to our European counterparts, scoring 52pc on the Entrepreneurial Spirit Index, compared to the average European score of 45pc.

The index assesses how respondents view setting up a business and how likely they are to do it themselves.

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