In the most authoritative study to date on the matter, geneticists have determined that “37 to 48 percent of the tendency to be an entrepreneur is genetic,” according to a report on Inc.
The study comes from The Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology at Kings College in London. Researchers observed a pool of people, including identical and fraternal twins, and studied their behavioral and molecular genetics to identify traits that are attributed to entrepreneurship.
They looked at the number of businesses started by the individuals, how long they were self-employed and other factors related to their inclination to run a business. These are their findings:
Between 37-48% of the tendency to be an entrepreneur is genetic.
The ability to identify business opportunities is genetic.
Self-employment, wanting to become an entrepreneur and the skill to actually pull it off is genetic.
Personality traits like extraversion and openness come from sets of genes that may influence the type of personality conducive to entrepreneurship.
But before you go digging through your family history for self-made business owners, the researchers admit that studies that deal with bridging the gap between business and biology are too new for any definitive points to be made. Factors like how you were raised, culture, financial situation and location are among the countless variables that make a successful entrepreneur.
Dr. Michael Baird, the chief science officer of the DNA Diagnostics Center, explains how genetics may still play only a marginal role in becoming an entrepreneur:
“It’s well known we get half of our DNA from each of our biological parents. Every day we are learning more about how a person’s DNA influences their physical traits and behavioral traits. It’s certainly possible that a person could inherit the genes to be an entrepreneur–I say genes because it’s likely a combination of genes, not a single gene. It could be a combination of genes that makes a person a leader, a risk taker, or other entrepreneurial traits that are potentially inherited from our parents. Environmental factors combined with the DNA we inherit could also trigger entrepreneurial characteristics.”
There are now studies for both sides of the debate on whether entrepreneurs are born or made, but with this new study, only one point is becoming clear: “genetic entrepreneurs” still need the education to pull everything off, but even the most extreme experiences can forge anyone into a true hustler.