Fear of failure holding back next generation of Irish entrepreneurs

Bankruptcy and prevailing concerns about the Irish economy were the two biggest obstacles preventing Ireland's next generation of would-be entrepreneurs from starting up a business in 2015.

This is according to the findings of an important global entrepreneurship study conducted by Amway. Now in its sixth year, the Amway report takes the public pulse of the state of self-employment around the world. The report found that almost three quarters of younger would-be Irish entrepreneurs under the age of 35 are most scared of failure, compared to 64 per cent of entrepreneurs aged 50 plus.

Despite the fact that more than half of all Irish adults considered setting up their own business last year, 70 per cent were too afraid to do anything about it for fear of failure. Only three other countries globally ranked higher than Ireland on fear of failure; Japan at 94 per cent and India and Italy both at 90 per cent.

Commenting on the Amway’s Global Entrepreneurship Report findings, professor Jimmy Hill, Dean of the School of Business at the National College of Ireland, said: “The fear of failure is closely related to the fear of financial loss or ruin. Irish views have inevitably been impacted by the recent economic crisis which saw many homes repossessed, massive job losses, pay cuts and economic ruin for many, not just entrepreneurial businesses.

"What is surprising, though, 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 to entrepreneurial failure generally."

Despite the fear factor, the Irish hold a very positive attitude towards entrepreneurship compared to our European counterparts, scoring 52 per cent on the Entrepreneurial Spirit Index compared to the average European score of 45 per cent. When asked about motivations for starting up, respondents cited flexibility, happiness, freedom, the lack of a boss, and the desire to feel successful as the key motivators, while money came a little further down the list for most.


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