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Companies: Startup founders often come from academic households

Companies: Startup founders often come from academic households

The parental home shapes – and is probably also a decisive factor for – the entrepreneurial spirit and the networks of young founders. This is shown by a study on the family environment of startup founders.

According to a recent study, those who found a startup often come from a family of academics or entrepreneurs. Six out of ten founders of these young companies have at least one parent with an academic degree, 14 percent even have a doctorate, according to a study by the Bertelsmann Foundation. In 2023, 1,800 founders were asked about their family background.

Entrepreneurial spirit also often seems to have its roots in the family: more than a third of the young entrepreneurs who founded a business were mother, father or both self-employed, and 24 percent even ran or run a company with their own employees. For comparison: among the employed population as a whole, only 4 percent work as entrepreneurs with employees. Conversely, it turns out that the group of employees is underrepresented among the parents of the founders.

“Vitamin B”: Useful contacts from the family environment

On the one hand, the numbers indicate an “imbalance in the education system” that is also evident in the startup ecosystem, and on the other hand, the effect of experiences and knowledge gained in a family context is shown, according to the study authors. Role models, reinforcement and security are important influencing factors here.

Two thirds of all founders stated that they had made contacts with other entrepreneurs thanks to their family environment. Economic resources are also relevant: 70 percent of those surveyed from entrepreneurial households and 57 percent of the children of civil servants who started a business said they could rely on their parents for financial support in difficult situations. For working-class children, only 14 percent agreed with this statement.

Fewer hurdles when raising capital

In addition, founders from working-class families are less likely to raise external capital for their plans than those from entrepreneurial families: the authors are convinced that this is also because there are or can be found experienced entrepreneurs in the family network who invest themselves.

Conversely, the study shows that the hurdles for founders without an academic or entrepreneurial background are much higher, says author Julia Scheerer, an economic expert at the Bertelsmann Foundation. “That has to change,” she states. Role models should therefore become more visible beyond families in schools and society, suggests Franziska Teubert, managing director of the startup association. “Then we get more young people excited about starting a business and create initial points of contact.”

Source: Stern

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