The Kauffman Foundation's The Anatomy of an Entrepreneur: Family Background and Motivation study covers the backgrounds, life histories, motivations and beliefs of company founders based on a survey of mostly high tech entrepreneurs.
- Company founders tend to be middle-aged and well educated and 95% of their survey respondents had completed college and 47% held advanced degrees.
- Building wealth (75%), capitalizing on a business idea (64%) and owning a business (64%) were the top reasons given for starting a business.
- Most had significant industry experience prior to starting their business. Also, 70% were married and 60% had at least one child when they started their business. The average respondent was middle-aged when they started their business.
It is an excellent piece of the work and survey results provide interesting insights into the lives and motivations of high tech, high growth entrepreneurs.
It is important to note that 77% survey respondents are founders of high tech companies. And although there isn't much company data, it is likely most of the respondents started high growth employer businesses with significant invested capital. Because of this, the survey results do not apply to the founders of typical small businesses.
The key data source listed in the report is OneSource Information Services. Coincidentally, based on the definitions used in the report I am one of the founders of OneSource. My marketing team came up with the company name. It is fun to see they are still around and still using the OneSource name.