Overcoming the fear of failure: the entrepreneurship imperative

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor is a respected consortium that reports on attitudes to entrepreneurship across the world. Apart from offering some global observations it also reports on individual countries. Recently it issued its latest report on Scotland (in association with the University of Strathclyde), and on page 7 we can read the following comment:

‘In 2010, 43% of working age adults in Scotland who thought there were good opportunities for starting a business agreed that fear of failure would prevent them from starting a business, up from a low of 31% in 2007. This compares with 36% in the UK and 35% across all Arc of Prosperity countries.’

As Scotland, by one route or another, takes more direct control of its economic destiny, it will be vital that indigenous enterprise is encouraged and promoted. This in turn means that business failure must be accepted as a possible by-product of innovation and must not be seen as a negative reflection on the person who has experienced it. Scotland’s universities must support the drive to generate enterprise by encouraging students to put risk and failure in perspective, and to see entrepreneurship and creativity as the hallmarks of a self-confident population.

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11 Comments on “Overcoming the fear of failure: the entrepreneurship imperative”

  1. irishminx Says:

    Failure teaches us more than our success’s Ferdinand.

    Enjoy nocturnal bliss 🙂

  2. Vincent Says:

    While the price of failure is as catastrophic as it is then there will always be a profound unwillingness to enter risky areas.
    I believe two things are needed in all areas where the common law has writ. One, the distance for all traders that is provided by company law be required for all. It’s insane that a sole trader can have her house taken while the international corporation can leverage income for twenty years worth of income with little comeback to the directors or shareholders. Two, there needs to be a nursery where start-ups can survive under glass and then hardened off gradually. And I see no problem requiring a ‘voluntary’ contribution from large business to fund most of this.
    By this second notion of mine I mean any business from the guy going out picking wild mushrooms on his own and selling them to places like where you eat-out to the next big thing. There is absolutely no point in supporting only those ideas that will be internationally traded. And anyway there is more money in the little plastic hook holding up your shower curtain than most software app’s nowadays.

  3. hamlynart Says:

    An interesting but incredibly complex subject that I too have thought and blogged about many times recently:


    I’m all for supportive encouragement, calculated risk taking , and mitigating harm but when we are part of a culture that, at every turn, elevates ‘success’ to the status of ultimate human good it seems to me that failure will always be the deeply feared and desperately avoided thing that it is.


    Jim H (Gray’s School of Art)

  4. Mert Sevinç Says:

    Interesting article. For some reason, people living in Nordic regions tend to be less entrepreneurial than others 🙂

  5. John Carter Says:

    Failure – experiment – different failure … partial success is the ongoing process for a rational, productive human life IMHO.

    Whether this applies to ‘entrepreneurs’ is open to debate.

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