Do birth order and family influence determine entrepreneurship?

Are you the eldest in your family? Did you come from a big family? According to the latest Sensis Business Index, if you did you are more likely to be running a small or medium sized business.

After surveying 1800 SME operators around Australia, Sensis found that they tended to come from larger families, defined as families with an average of 3.54 children.

Furthermore, business owners tend to be born higher in the birth order of their families. Eldest siblings accounted for 41% of owners, with middle siblings making up 29%, followed by youngest children at 25%. Only 5% of business owners are only-children.

That your family ran a business did not seem to influence whether you would run one, as most respondents hadn’t grown up in families that ran their own businesses.

More than 60% were the only siblings in their families with their own venture. For those with siblings who are business owners, 58% reported that the sibling was younger, reflecting the general trend that business owners tend to be older siblings.

But birth order and family influence on entrepreneurship in Australia are certainly not the only force motivating people to get into business for themselves. Sensis concluded that owning a business relies more on individual characteristics rather than any that run in families.

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