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Big brother knows business best

Date 4 Dec 2007

Eldest children are more likely than their younger siblings to start their own company, according to new research. A survey of small business bosses conducted by Barclays Local Business revealed that more than a third of UK entrepreneurs (41 per cent) are the first born. In comparison, only 27 per cent of respondents admitted to being the ‘baby of the family'. However, there is no evidence to suggest that an entrepreneurial gene runs in the family as 61 per cent of those questioned do not have another family member who runs their own business.

Celebrity examples of the 'older sibling' trend include Richard Branson, JK Rowling, and Tim Campbell, winner of BBC's 'The Apprentice'.

John Davis, marketing director for Barclays Local Business said: "The survey reveals what many people, particularly younger siblings like myself, may have suspected for a long while; when it comes to taking charge, eldest children are more than happy to be the boss! Perhaps the experience of helping to look after younger brothers and sisters early in life is a breeding ground for good management skills giving our oldest children a head start when it comes to business?"

The survey also found that more than 90 per cent of current entrepreneurs have owned more than one business.

Entrepreneurs in London are the most experienced, with nearly a quarter (22 per cent) admitting to having owned at least three businesses. The capital's entrepreneurs are also most likely to be eldest children (44 per cent). By contrast, East Midlands entrepreneurs are least likely to be the eldest children (36 per cent) and the East of England's entrepreneurs are least likely to have been involved with multiple businesses. Only two per cent of those surveyed in the area have run more than three businesses.

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