Are you a born entrepreneur?

Scientific research shows that our genes influence whether we start our own businesses.

Guest op-ed contributor Scott Shane is a professor of entrepreneurial studies at Case Western Reserve University. He writes about entrepreneurship and innovation management, among other things.

Ever wonder why so many children of entrepreneurs become entrepreneurs themselves?

One reason is that our genes influence the decision to start a business. I don’t mean that figuratively; I mean it scientifically. With colleagues at Kings College in London and the University of Cyprus, I have been investigating how genes affect entrepreneurship for more than five years. Through studies of twins, and more recently, through molecular genetics laboratory research, we have found that genes influence whether people start businesses, are self-employed, or have owned their own companies. Our research shows that the same genetic factors influence the tendency both to see business opportunities and to start companies, as well as how much money self-employed people earn.

At this point you may be wondering how researchers could determine that there’s a genetic component to entrepreneurship. It’s actually pretty straightforward.

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