Sunday, May 11, 2008

InfoWeek: Tech Entrepreneurs Older, More Educated Than Stereotype -- Tech Startup -- InformationWeek

"Contrary to the popular perception that technology and engineering entrepreneurs are in their teens or 20s, a study spanning from 1995 to 2005 found that just 1% of American founders were teenagers.
Most American technology and engineering business founders were middle-aged degree-holders, according to a study by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The study's researchers, from Duke and Harvard universities, found that the average and median age for people founding tech companies was 39."

"While education clearly is an advantage for tech founders in the United States, experience also is a key factor," said Vivek Wadhwa, lead researcher, Harvard Law School Wertheim fellow, and Duke University executive in residence. "That a large number of U.S.-born tech founders have worked in business for many years also is important in understanding the supply of tech entrepreneurs."
The study points to a correlation between founders' education levels and their companies' performance.

Ninety-two percent had bachelor's degrees, 31% had master's degrees, and 10% had Ph.D.s. Almost half of the degrees were in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. A third of the degrees were in business, finance, and accounting.

"Because entrepreneurship is an indicator of economic vitality in regions and across the country, this study raises important policy questions about how to foster greater tech entrepreneurship to boost economic growth," said Robert Litan, the Kauffman Foundation's VP of research and policy.

Forty-five percent of the tech startups were established in the state where American technology entrepreneurs received their education."

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