National Survey Reveals 56 Million Americans Want To Start Their Own Business, But Are Hesitant Due To A Sluggish Economy

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A national study released today by borro discovered that while more than 56 million (24 percent) U.S. adults would like to start their own business, only about 14 million (6 percent) adults are currently trying to do so, a direct correlation between small business growth and overall economic recovery.

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"It is the state of the economy which appears to be a key reason behind the lack of small business start-ups, as nearly 155 million adults agree that they would not want to start their own business right now because of the current economic climate."

A national study released today by borro, the leading personal asset lender, revealed that, although Americans want to be their own boss and start a business, they are intimidated by the overall economy and its slow recovery, a direct correlation between small business growth and overall economic recovery.

The study, conducted online by Harris Interactive in April on behalf of borro among over 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, discovered that while more than 56 million¹ (24 percent) U.S. adults would like to start their own business, only about 14 million² (6 percent) adults are currently trying to do so.

Although 91 percent of U.S. adults agree that small businesses are important to economic recovery and more than half (56%) strongly agree, it is the state of the economy which appears to be a key reason behind the lack of small business start-ups, as nearly 155 million³ adults (66 percent) also agree that they would not want to start their own business right now because of the current economic climate.

Geographically, an overwhelming majority (95 percent) of Midwest respondents, whose state payrolls are significantly influenced by small business*, feel that small businesses are important to our country’s economic recovery. That compares with 90 percent of U.S. adults living in the Northeast or West and 89 percent in the South.

Difficult Road Ahead

Those 14 million individuals who are currently trying to start their own business may face a difficult road ahead. According to the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, big banks lending to small businesses only increased half a percentage point in June (11.1%), which is still down from the January 2012 figure of 11.7%. And, in fact, according to the borro survey, of the more than 14 million adults who are currently trying to start their own business, more than 5.6 million (40 percent) report they are having difficulty finding start-up financing.

Those issues securing financing appear to be another correlating factor in the growth of small business, as 4 in 5 U.S. adults (80 percent) agree that it should be easier for small businesses to get financing and more than half (52 percent) of U.S. adults say they would be more likely to start their own business if that were the case. Among those who have started their own business, more than one in five (22 percent) found that they were unable to capitalize on potential business opportunities due to lack of financing, and the same proportion (21 percent) say they had difficulty finding start-up financing.

“Many entrepreneurs are seeking opportunities but are being met with stringent requirements from banks and other traditional lenders that disable their dreams,” said Paul Aitken, borro CEO. “Since our launch in the U.S., we’ve distributed over $3,000,000 in loans to individuals in the U.S., many of whom were initially turned town by banks.”

To help bridge the financing gap for American entrepreneurs and small business owners, borro offers short-term loans secured against high-value personal assets including jewelry, fine art, antiques, and luxury automobiles.

"Because the economy is on shaky ground, banks are reluctant to loan money. Meanwhile, small businesses are crucial to stimulating the economy; it’s a cycle that is hard to break but does provide companies like borro with a unique value proposition to small businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Aitken. “borro is giving these individuals a new way to capitalize on their assets in order to make their business goals attainable.”

  • Calculation based on U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 Census, which estimates there are 234.6 million adults ages 18+ residing in the United States:

1) 234.6M x 0.24 = 56.306M; 2) 234.6M x 0.06 = 14.076M; 3) 234.6M x 0.66 = 154.836M.

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of borro from April 24-26, 2012 among 2,213 adults aged 18 and over. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Katie Timinsky, ktiminsky(at)gibbs-soell(dot)com.

About borro

  •     borro provides loans of $1,000 – $1,000,000 secured against personal assets including jewelry, luxury watches, gold, fine art, antiques, luxury cars, fine wine, and other high value assets.
  •     borro’s valuation experts have over 100 years combined experience from the leading auction houses, including Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Bonhams.
  •     All assets are stored in secure and insured specialist vaults/premises. Fine art and antiques are stored at fine art storage specialists and luxury cars are stored in a dehumidified and climate controlled premises.
  •     borro offers appointments at their valuation center, home visits, and various premium collection options including same day couriers. All these services are fully insured and provided for by borro.
  •     All assets are fully insured whilst in storage with borro for the duration of the loan.    
  •     Founded by Paul Aitken in 2008, borro’s investors include Augmentum Capital, European Founders Fund, Eden Ventures and Octopus Investments. These companies have invested in LinkedIn, We7, Betfair, Egg, Sportingbet, Facebook, and more.
  •     borro is a registered trademark of Borro Limited.
  •     borro is licensed by the City of New York under the Collateral Loan Brokers Law, Article 5 of the New York General Business Law, license number 1412743.

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit http://www.harrisinteractive.com.

Editorial Contact:
Katie Timinsky, Gibbs & Soell, ktiminsky(at)gibbs-soell(dot)com
Kyle Kuhnel, Gibbs & Soell, kkuhnel(at)gibbs-soell(dot)com
Caroline Gennaro, Gibbs & Soell, cgennaro(at)gibbs-soell(dot)com

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Katie Timinsky

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