Traditional stereotypes of entrepreneurs out of date and preventing more problem solving

If someone tells you Ms A is an entrepreneur what’s your reaction? Do you think: ‘That’s great, she will be building up a business and creating jobs’; or: ‘How I’d love to be that innovative person’ , or: ‘She’ll be obsessed with money, egotistical and only interested in herself’?

Sadly the tired old, negative stereotypes do still spring to mind. 

According to research from King’s Entrepreneurial Institute and YouGov

  • 48% of people believe that entrepreneurs are more likely to be from a middle-class background and 41% believe it is easier to be an entrepreneur if you are white
  • 50% of respondents perceive money as being one of the biggest motivators for entrepreneurs
  • 45% of respondents believe entrepreneurs are more likely to be male

Outdated and negative stereotypes of entrepreneurs could be preventing people from recognising entrepreneurial qualities in themselves at a time when these skills are needed most. 

Entrepreneurs are important for helping economies grow and recover from recessions. They solve problems, drive change and find effective solutions. We need those skills now more than ever.

This is Global Entrepreneurship Week and we’ve asked the multi-award winning Katie Matthews what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur: 

Hi everyone! Katie Matthews here. I’m 28 years old and from England originally but have lived in Northern Ireland for almost 10 years. After completing my degree at Queen’s University Belfast, I started my first business, Excel In Education Tutoring School, aged 23. After living with Depression from 17 and being diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder at 22, one of my passions is mental health and well-being. At 26 I set up my second business, The Mind Tribe UK, which is a mental health training and consultancy service providing mental health, growth mindset, mindfulness and resilience training to a variety of organisations across the world. In addition to my businesses, I wear a few other hats! 

I believe it’s our responsibility to give something back, to try to create positive change in the world, and to empower young people as the next generation. About 18 months ago I set up the voluntary organisation, Young Entrepreneur’s Network NI (YENNI), as a dedicated support and community hub for entrepreneurs aged 18-30 years old across NI. One of my future goals is to establish YENNI as a charity and to grow the organisation to support as many budding business brains as we can! I was absolutely delighted to be awarded “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” at the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) NI Awards in 2018, to be named on the NI 40 Under 40 List in 2019 and to also take up my first Trustee Board position for Home-Start North Belfast. 

Earlier this year I was honoured to be asked to be on the NI Regional Judging Panel for The Diana Award, was appointed as an Independent Member of the Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon Policing Community Safety Partnership Board, and most recently have been appointed as NI Deputy National Director for Global Entrepreneurship Network UK. I have a plethora of plans for the future and am so excited to continue my journey as an entrepreneur, to continue advocating and giving a voice to others, and to become someone who makes a significant positive change in our world. 

If I can do it so can you. If you would like to learn more about my work please visit my website or connect with me on LinkedIn.”

Liz Barclay
Liz Barclay

Liz has an extensive broadcasting career, mainly with the BBC. She works with Boards and small businesses on improving governance, trust and culture, diversity, and customer understanding, and is passionate about improving customer service and employee engagement.

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