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Barbara Pruitt, Kauffman Foundation; 816-932-1288; firstname.lastname@example.org
Current financial crisis deters people from becoming entrepreneurs themselves
(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) Oct. 1, 2008 — Americans see entrepreneurship as the answer to the current financial crisis — but worries about the economy are deterring them from taking the first step on that path, according to survey findings released today by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
"Americans in big numbers are looking to entrepreneurs to rally the economy," said Carl Schramm, president and chief executive officer of the Kauffman Foundation. "More than 70 percent of voters say the health of the economy depends on the success of entrepreneurs, and a full 80 percent want to see the government use its resources to actively encourage entrepreneurship in America."
Despite this confidence in entrepreneurship, Americans personally are reluctant to start their own companies. Seventy-one percent of Americans believe that the economic crisis of the past two weeks has made it more difficult to become an entrepreneur. The study shows a gulf between those who see opportunities and those willing to seize them; 49 percent of respondents see opportunities for entrepreneurial ideas in the current economy but only 26 percent said they would actually consider starting a business within the next five years.
The impact of the current financial situation is hitting people personally:
- Only 7 percent of Americans believe that "nothing is at risk" for them personally during this economic meltdown. More than one in three people polled (34 percent) see everything — jobs, homes and investments — as equally vulnerable and at risk during the crisis.
- One in four (26 percent) said the impact of the financial crisis will be "very bad" or "devastating" with another 34 percent saying it will be "pretty bad" for them personally.
- Sixty-four percent of Americans think that Main Street will suffer the most severe consequences from the economic crisis; 16 percent think Wall Street will be hardest hit.
The economic crisis has not dampened American optimism, however. Seventy-five percent of those surveyed said that they are or someday will be living the America Dream.
Because they understand the role of entrepreneurs as a creator of jobs, Americans are looking to business leaders instead of government, by a two-to-one margin, to lead the way out of the economic mess. A majority of people (56 percent) trust small business owners to guide the economy, compared with only 14 percent who trust members of Congress.
While, more than 60 percent of people surveyed support the federal government increasing its regulation of the market, more than a third think Congress is in danger of creating too much regulation as it reacts to this crisis.
"History has repeatedly demonstrated that new companies and entrepreneurship are the way to bolster a flagging economy. The American people understand this," Schramm said.
Luntz, Maslansky Strategic Research conducted the telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 816 registered, likely voters. The margin of error was +/- 3.4 percent. To ensure that the data collection method did not skew or influence the characteristics of the survey population, the sample was balanced to represent the demographic characteristics defined by the U.S. Census for actual voters. Data was collected from Sept. 26 through Sept. 29, 2008.
About the Kauffman Foundation
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private nonpartisan foundation that works to harness the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to grow economies and improve human welfare. Through its research and other initiatives, the Kauffman Foundation aims to open young people's eyes to the possibility of entrepreneurship, promote entrepreneurship education, raise awareness of entrepreneurship-friendly policies, and find alternative pathways for the commercialization of new knowledge and technologies. It also works to prepare students to be innovators, entrepreneurs and skilled workers in the 21st century economy through initiatives designed to improve learning in math, engineering, science and technology. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo. and has more than $2.4 billion in assets. More information is available at www.kauffman.org