Research proves experience is a pivotal factor for entrepreneurial success


Recent research has dispelled the myth that entrepreneurship is a young person’s domain. In fact, business experts and Second Squared founders Lui Pangiarella and Akram Sabbagh are on the hunt for older, wiser and more experienced entrepreneurs.

The Perth based duo founded Second Squared in June 2018 in a bid to introduce a new investment concept called search funds to Australian entrepreneurs.

Search funds provide entrepreneurs an opportunity to run their own business in partnership with investors.

“We’re accelerating private entrepreneurship by building a Search Fund Eco-system that enables experienced executives to find and acquire businesses where they can leverage their wisdom,” Mr Sabbagh said.

“Unlike startup accelerators, we work with those who want to take their well-founded wisdom into operating businesses and take it to the next level.”

Mr Pangiarella said a lot of older people were nervous about getting into start-ups because they were convinced it’s a young person’s game.

“Innovation and disruption are big buzzwords in the start-up world, and for some reason those qualities tend to be associated with youth,” he said.

“In actual fact, when we look for people who have the ability and nous to grow businesses, people who have experience in work and life have just as much value, if not more.

“Put simply, knowing how things work, and don’t work, is often the most important step in figuring out how they can work better.

“That makes you an ideal candidate to take over your own business.”

A study published in April 2018 by the USA’s National Bureau of Economic Research found that not only were the most successful entrepreneurs middle-aged, but a 50-year-old entrepreneur was 1.8 times more likely to achieve high-end growth than a 30-year-old founder.

The study also measured whether youthful entrepreneurs had a particular advantage when it comes to innovation and disruption and found that prior knowledge and experience in any disrupted sector predicted a 125 per cent better outcome on growth or exit strategies.

“Studies like this one show us that experience and prior knowledge are key factors in being successful in the business world.  Lots of people have the experience and knowledge but haven’t had the opportunity to run their own business,” said Mr Pangiarella.

“We created Second Squared in part to give people with the experience, ability and leadership skills to run their own business the opportunity to do so.”

Mr Pangiarella and Mr Sabbagh have extensive experience as business coaches and realised that many executives were unhappy in the corporate world but didn’t know how to start their own business.

“There was a need to fill the gap and that is when we became aware of Search Funds,” Mr Pangiarella said.

“After extensive research on Search Funds we launched Second Squared and are currently working with entrepreneurs in Perth, Sydney and Brisbane.”

He said they were looking for budding entrepreneurs with key characteristics such as grit, the ability to learn from failure, the ability to build a group of mentors and advisors, and also a willingness to pay it forward and help others.

“We are looking for people who do the hard work.  They don’t expect it to be done for them.  That’s where the grit comes in.  We are looking for people who can stick with it when the going gets tough and they learn from it every single time, and people who are not afraid to help others. The best entrepreneurs make other entrepreneurs more successful.

“If you think you might be a candidate, we’d love to hear from you.”