Brits refuse to mix business with pleasure?

Entrepreneurs seeking new sources of funding shouldn't bother asking their mates, a new survey says.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Everyone knows that entrepreneurs are having a hard time getting their hands on start-up capital just at the moment – with the economy still heading south, the banks are cutting back lending and investors are shying away from risk. And the bad news is that wannabe business owners won’t be able to tap their friends for cash either: according to a survey of users on networking site LinkedIn, just 1% said they’d use a financial windfall to back their mate’s business. That’s not very friendly, is it?

In the survey, LinkedIn asked 3,000 of its members what they’d do if they received a whopping redundancy package on parting ways with their employer. Just 1% said they’d use it to back a friend’s business, which is a pretty measly figure compared to the 7% who said they’d put it in shares and property (which is brave, to say the least) and the 31% who’d fritter it away on DVDs and booze until they got another job (obviously we’re paraphrasing here).

Our immediate reaction was to wring our hands and think gloomy thoughts about the selfish individualism of modern society – to bemoan these people’s lack of public-spiritedness, sense of adventure, and fellow-feeling towards their entrepreneurial chums. But then we thought about it for ten seconds, and realised that we probably wouldn’t want to hand over a redundancy cheque to one of our mates either. Not (just) because they’re feckless layabouts, but for practical reasons – in a job market like this, it could be a while before the next pay cheque arrives, so that cash might come in handy for stuff like food and housing. (Call us old-fashioned)

Besides, even if it is true that people are unwilling to invest in other people’s entrepreneurial dreams, that doesn’t mean there’s no chance of entrepreneurs dragging us out of the recession. By far the largest proportion of respondents – nearly 50% in fact - said they’d use the windfall to set up their own business. So clearly the UK’s entrepreneurial flame is still burning bright...

In today's bulletin:
Government to splurge £250m on green car bribes
Darling to announce worst budget deficit in 50 years
UK has the world's worst copyright laws
Brits refuse to mix business with pleasure?
Nick Hood: How Poland plans to stave off recession

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