Are you successful in business? Ask senior leaders that question and many will instinctively point to their record of improving the company share price, profit growth, or both, to showcase their achievements.
But, tellingly, if you pose the same question to the world’s most successful entrepreneurs – you are likely to receive a more nuanced response. Yes, profit is important yet many also judge their own records by a second consideration: social impact.
Critically, their efforts are not just restricted to philanthropy or giving money away. Their quest spans different areas of the entrepreneurial existence, such as their roles as global employers, responsible investors and business mentors.
This year marks the fourth edition of the Global Entrepreneur Report, which Scorpio Partnership researched and developed jointly with BNP Paribas Wealth Management. We surveyed 2,700 high-net worth (HNW) entrepreneurs in 22 advanced and emerging economies. Our sample had an average net worth of USD13.4 million and typical primary company revenues of approximately US25.1 million. Together they employ almost half a million people worldwide.
These ‘Elite Entrepreneurs’ had a good year last year, with 62% seeing their profits rise in 2016. So, after a period of sustained financial success, many are now looking for new challenges.
In 2017, 39% said that they consider social impact to be part of their definition of business success. Two years ago, only one in ten believed this was a relevant metric. For entrepreneurs, that term ‘impact’ means something quite specific. It’s the chance to use their individual talents to make significant social, economic and environmental contributions.
Many entrepreneurs are embracing the influence that comes with business leadership. After all, they employ on average 166 people in their primary companies and so have the power to change lives and empower careers. Strikingly, it is the most successful entrepreneurs – whom we have dubbed ‘Ultrapreneurs’ – who believe most passionately in job creation as a way to give back. As one Board Member of a global manufacturing firm told me: “As a privately-owned business, we have a social responsibility. We are a big employer and so have a duty to the thousands of people who depend upon our company.”
The impetus to respond to the world around them is also reflected in their investment choices. The majority of entrepreneurs (55%) have allocated at least some proportion of their wealth towards securing socially-responsible outcomes. Among the younger generation, this rises to 80%. Globally, those who invest responsibly are motivated by a desire to safeguard the environment, create jobs and support the transition to clean energy. These investment priorities are of course interpreted differently at a regional and country level (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Responsible investors’ development priorities
Q: You mentioned that you are currently investing to promote specific good causes. Are you seeking to have an impact on any of the following areas?
Source: BNP Paribas Wealth Management & Scorpio Partnership (2017)
Many institutions in the Wealth Management community view entrepreneurs as a core client segment and are dedicated to supporting business owners build and grow their companies. To support those efforts, here are three takeaways from our research findings:
- Pre-empt the growing appetite for business investment: Elite Entrepreneurs, particularly Millennipreneurs, are searching for new opportunities to finance the growth trajectories of other promising firms. By 2022, we project surging demand for business investment vehicles such as private equity, start-up financing and impact investing – particularly in the BRIC countries, Indonesia and India.
- Raise client awareness of responsible investing: Older and younger entrepreneurs alike face some surmountable barriers to increasing allocations to socially responsible vehicles. Millennipreneurs, for example, are the most enthusiastic generation but many aren’t aware of the available products. Older clients – particularly Boomerpreneurs (aged 55 years or older) – are especially uncertain that these products are relevant to their objectives or risk profiles.
- Demonstrate the financial case for impact investments: Entrepreneurs will often agree that there is a moral case for impact investments but may be sceptical about financial returns. This is more observable among business owners in Europe for example, than in APAC where returns will often be equivalent to traditional investments, such as private equity. Wealth Managers must debunk the myth that it is not possible to achieve good returns and have a positive impact. They should also be clear that the success metrics will look different for each project and may need a longer time horizon.
To look at the data and read the stories featured in the 2018 Global Entrepreneur Report, please visit this link.
Thought for the week:
“We entrepreneurs have to act as citizens of the world. Creating a positive social impact should be the way to do business in the 21st century.” – Anne-Marie Gabelica, founder of Oolution
News from the world of wealth:
SEC to scrutinize hidden fees – Investment News
Author: Tasha Vashisht, Senior Manager
Background: Prior to joining the Scorpio team, Tasha worked at FreshMinds, an award-winning insight and innovation consultancy, for nearly five years within the Financial and Professional Services team. During her time at FreshMinds, Tasha supported a range of clients – from financial providers to technology consultancies – to develop growth strategies focussed on getting closer to their customers.
Education: Tasha is a politics aficionada and has a Master’s degree in EU governance from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) from Keble College, Oxford.
And at the weekends: She can be found brunching somewhere in London, watching Frasier re-runs, trying to motivate herself to go for a run or doing a spot of campaigning. She’s also learning Spanish but finds that the idioms are often her downfall.