Does access to money define your success as an entrepreneur?

Barrier to entry is very high: Research shows entrepreneurship has more to do with access to capital than a ‘risk-taking gene.’

You have your big idea, thoughtful marketing research, a well structured business plan, determination. But the big question is, where is your funding coming from? According to research what really sets an entrepreneur apart from others is not their ability to forecast trends or their capacity for hard work, but their access to money.

In a recent Quartz article, Entrepreneurs don’t have a special gene for risk—they come from families with money New York based writer Aimee Groth writes:

“… the most common shared trait among entrepreneurs is access to financial capital—family money, an inheritance, or a pedigree and connections that allow for access to financial stability. While it seems that entrepreneurs tend to have an admirable penchant for risk, it’s usually that access to money which allows them to take risks.”

When needs are met its easier to be creative. More money means bigger but safer risks, and undoubtedly more successful ventures. “Many other researchers have replicated the finding that entrepreneurship is more about cash than dash,” University of Warwick professor Andrew Oswald told Quartz. “Genes probably matter, as in most things in life, but not much.”

Following your dreams can be a dangerous business. $30,000 is the average cost to launch a startup and the majority of startup funding usually comes from the personal assets and investments of founders.

In a response article on Inc., Minta Zeltlin a business technology writer and the former president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors, agrees that the start-up world favors those who come from privilege, and that access to capital is just one hindrance to making it big.

Other factors to consider are the right education, connections and the right background for your start-up tribe.If you don’t have this preferred cocktail, the startup culture you are trying to penetrate may not be that welcoming.

“You don’t need Startup Castle to know that if you drink Bud rather than craft beer, prefer Nascar to tennis, and like pickup trucks better than hybrids, you’re going to be a bad cultural fit in the start-up world,” Zeltin writes. “If you think that won’t affect your chances for success, just ask the nonwhite, nonmale, nonyoung entrepreneurs who’ve been there.”

Change won’t be easy. Beyond access to money, creating scholarships and bursaries for the non elite, its going to have to be a change in attitudes.

Zeltin talks about startup culture catering to the 1%.”They do things like deliver gourmet meals to people with plenty of money but no time to cook, or shuttle the children of professional parents to ballet and soccer practice at $12 to $15 a ride,” she explains.

“Fubu is a great company that demonstrates the good things that can happen when entrepreneurs don’t fit right into the Silicon Valley mold. But “For Us by Us” can mean the opposite too: Upscale services provided by entrepreneurs from well-to-do backgrounds and aimed at customers whose demographics mirror their own. Until we learn to create a startup culture that welcomes everyone, that’s the best we’re going to get.”

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