Would You Have Guessed This?

What if you conducted research that ended up showing you exactly what you and everybody else would have guessed? Was it worth doing? Here’s a paragraph in today’s National Dialog on Entrepreneurship newsletter:

A second survey assesses the factors driving women [in the U.K.] to start their own companies. The primary motivations were related to passion about the business, wanting to make a difference, or desiring a more independent lifestyle. Money is an important, but not overriding, concern for these women entrepreneurs. Other factors, such as being one’s own boss, are more important than financial considerations in terms of pushing women toward entrepreneurial aspirations.

Does that surprise you, or would you have guessed that without needing the survey? Why the focus on women? Do you think these factors are different from those that drive men to start companies? (I don’t.) Do you think these results for the U.K. are different from what we’d get if we did the same survey in the United States? (I don’t.)

These surveys were conducted by the U.K. National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship.  And in case you’re interested …

The first survey examines the backgrounds of the founders of Britain’s 100 fastest-growing businesses. Seventy percent of these founders hold graduate degrees. Among technology firms, 84% hold graduate degrees.

Now that’s information that surprises me. And I’m glad to see it. I hope it’s the same in the U.S. It’s become hip and trendy to play down the relationship between education and success (or so it seems to me), but I’m old fashioned on that point, I value education.

A third survey catalogs the state of entrepreneurship education in Britain’s higher education system. At present, 127 higher educational institutions in the U.K. provide some sort of entrepreneurship education programming and support.

I do think research is more interesting when results surprise me than when it confirms what I would have thought was obvious, but then, on the other hand, when people set out to research an important topic and their research ends up with those results, what do they do? Not publish it?


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