Positivity Feeds The Growing Appetite For Entrepreneurship In America

2015 Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report Expands To Study Attitudes And Drive In Inaugural Amway Entrepreneurial Spirit Index

Nov 18, 2015, 08:00 ET from Amway

ADA, Mich., Nov. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- "Want to enjoy life," "like to learn things," "look for adventures and like to take risks" – these traits tell the story of how Americans perceive entrepreneurs, as revealed in the 2015 Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report (AGER).

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It's an optimism that permeates the research again this year, with 86 percent of Americans expressing positive attitudes toward entrepreneurship, up a remarkable 24 percent from 2014 and a resounding 11 percent more than the 2015 global average (75 percent). Echoed by their strong desire for "independence from an employer" and "self-fulfillment, possibility to realize own ideas," at 75 percent and 72 percent respectively, this positivity is indicative of the country's thriving entrepreneurial spirit.

"The attitude toward entrepreneurship is not only remarkably high but significantly increased from last year when fewer than two-thirds of respondents reported a positive attitude," notes Dr. David B. Audretsch, professor and director of the Institute for Development Strategies at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs. "What's more, the secondary importance of financial compensation contradicts the most prevalent stereotypes and myths about why people choose entrepreneurship."

Now in its sixth year, the AGER takes the public pulse of the state of self-employment around the world. The 2015 study delves into the key characteristics of entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial spirit, debuting the Amway Entrepreneurial Spirit Index (AESI). Derived from acclaimed psychologist Icek Ajzen's Theory of Planned Behavior, the AESI measures three dimensions that influence a person's intention to start a business: desire, feasibility and stability against social pressure.

When correlated with AGER results, AESI scores reveal that countries with a higher entrepreneurial spirit also are more positive toward entrepreneurship and have higher entrepreneurial potential and rates of self-employment. At 53, the United States outscored the international AESI average (51), with feasibility ranked first among the three dimensions (60 percent) – nearly six out of 10 say they are prepared to own a business, in sharp contrast to the worldwide average, where feasibility ranks third.

"Americans are at the forefront of entrepreneurship around the world," notes Jim Ayres, Amway North America managing director. "This year's AGER especially proves that Americans have an undeniable strong entrepreneurial spirit that's gaining in momentum and magnitude. The findings affirm what we know to be true about our Amway Independent Business Owners."

2015 Key Findings
The groundbreaking 2015 AGER spans 44 countries, with in-person and telephone interviews conducted with nearly 50,000 men and women aged 14-99. Key U.S. findings include:

Positivity is surging.
An impressive 86 percent of Americans were positive toward entrepreneurship, an increase of 24 percent from 2014 and 11 percent more than the 2015 international average (75 percent). Those under 50 years (90 percent) and university graduates (91 percent) were most optimistic, affirming global results.

Ideas and independence are above all.
The most appealing aspects for owning a business to Americans were "independence from an employer, being my own boss" (75 percent) and "self-fulfillment, possibility to realize own ideas" (72 percent), echoing global results ("independence": 48 percent; "self-fulfillment": 44 percent).

Entrepreneurial potential on the rise.
Likewise, entrepreneurial potential was on the upswing, with 51 percent of Americans saying they can imagine starting a business, up from 2014 (44 percent) and 2015 global results (43 percent). Men (61 percent) were considerably more apt than women (42 percent) to seek entrepreneurship, widening the gap by three times from last year (men: 48 percent; women: 41 percent). Education had no bearing on entrepreneurial potential, however, creating an educational gap of just two percent (degreed: 53 percent; non-degreed: 51 percent), significantly lower than the international average of 10 percent (degreed: 51 percent; non-degreed: 41 percent).

The Amway Entrepreneurial Spirit Index, an indicator of attitude and potential.
The U.S. AESI score was 53, slightly higher than the global score (51), and calculated as the mean of desire, feasibility and stability against social pressure: 57 percent of the average expressed the desire to become an entrepreneur, 60 percent felt prepared for entrepreneurship and 43 percent would not allow their social networks to dissuade them from starting a business. Men (60) scored significantly higher than women (47) and 35 to 49 year olds were highest among age groups (58).

Top traits of entrepreneurship: upbeat, curious, resilient and supportive.
Americans believed that entrepreneurs "want to enjoy life" (96 percent), "like to learn things" (95 percent) and "look for adventures and like to take risks" (89 percent), as compared to the top global traits ("like to learn things": 84 percent; "want to enjoy life": 78 percent; and "like to be in charge and tell others what to do": 75 percent). Americans also characterized business owners as people who "want to help people" (80 percent) and "like to stand out and impress other people" (70 percent). At 80 percent, Americans under 35 years were more convinced that entrepreneurs like to "impress others" than any other age group, as with global results (under 35 years: 73 percent).

Fear of failure is a continuing obstacle.
Six in 10 Americans identify fear of failure as a hurdle to business ownership (62 percent), substantially more than 2013 (37 percent) when it was first studied yet still less than the world average (70 percent). Men and women were nearly equally fearful, at 60 and 63 percent, concurring with international averages (men: 68 percent; women: 71 percent). Americans under 35 years (70 percent) were most fearful of all age groups, citing "financial burdens" (46 percent) as the factor feeding their fearfulness most – both aligning with world results.

Increasingly entrepreneurship-friendly.
Despite these fears, the majority of Americans saw their country as entrepreneurship-friendly. Sixty seven percent, a seven percent increase from 2014 (60 percent) and an impressive 17 percent higher than the global average (50 percent). U.S. respondents under 35 years were most positive, at 71 percent, up 11 percent from last year, and again significantly more than global results (under 35 years: 53 percent).

"The AGER pinpoints the United States as sustaining a highly hospitable environment for entrepreneurs," adds Audretsch. "More than two-thirds consider the United States to constitute an environmentally friendly society – considerably greater than how most other countries are perceived by their own residents."

About the Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report (AGER)
The 2015 AGER was conducted by Amway, in partnership with the Chair of Strategy and Organization of the School of Management, TUM in Munich, Germany. Fieldwork was completed by the Gesellschaft fuer Konsumforschung, Nuremberg, from April through July. Results are shared with the scientific community, including the 44 AGER academic advisors and all interested think tanks and academic and public institutions.

About Amway™
Amway is a $10.8 billion direct selling business based in Ada, Michigan, USA. Top-selling brands for Amway are Nutrilite™ vitamin, mineral and dietary supplements, Artistry™ skincare and color cosmetics, and eSpring™ water treatment systems – all sold exclusively by Amway Business Owners. Global sales in 2014 made Amway the #1 direct selling business in the world, according to the Direct Selling News 2015 Global 100. For company news, visit globalnews.amway.com.