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Entrepreneur Gene Project

Nature or nurture? DNA or dedication? Mercedes-Benz Vans seeks the answers behind the UK’s entrepreneur community

Major study launched to explore the nation’s entrepreneurial genetic profile

Mercedes-Benz Vans UK has today set the wheels in motion on a ground-breaking study seeking to explore the entrepreneurial genetic profile of the nation, taking one of the deepest dives yet to discover the role that DNA can play in entrepreneurship

The brand is calling on the entrepreneurs and leaders behind thousands of SME businesses in the UK to participate in the Entrepreneur Gene Project, a genetics study which seeks to spark a wider debate about what makes UK business, and the environment in which it operates, so unique.

The new DNA-based study has been commissioned on the back of preliminary research that explored the nation’s perception of entrepreneurs. Of the 2,000 respondents interviewed, 55% believed that individuals are born with the skills to become entrepreneurs, with only 21% claiming that nurture and upbringing is the most important factor.

Other key findings included:

  • 77% of those interviewed would not class themselves as an entrepreneur
  • Nearly two thirds (65%) believe the United Kingdom is inherently entrepreneurial
  • Over a quarter (27%) of those who class themselves as an entrepreneur believe that they knew had this trait before the age of 20, and 5% knew so before the age of 13.
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To put these views to the test, Mercedes-Benz Vans UK has teamed up with some of the foremost leaders in genetics research to better understand the entrepreneurial genetic makeup of the UK. The Entrepreneur Gene Project is being conducted by principal investigator Thomas Roos (MSc Biology & MSc Clinical Research from Stanford University), in conjunction with scientists from Liverpool John Moores University and award-winning genetics company DNAfit.

The study will set out to explore the genetic makeup of entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs alike, investigating the potential genetic contribution to different kinds of entrepreneurism using a method known as Genome-Wide Association

Whether they consider themselves an entrepreneur or not, participants can get involved by signing up at https://entrepreneurgeneproject.com/

The Entrepreneur Gene Project is the latest embodiment of Mercedes-Benz Vans’ commitment to ‘keeping businesses moving’, and celebrates the SMEs who employ over 50% of private sector workers in the UK.

The Entrepreneur Gene Project is being fronted by Jamal Edwards MBE, who founded his digital media empire, SBTV Global, while still a teenager. The Londoner often goes into schools to talk to young people about their futures. He points out that he was working on his media platform for years before he turned a profit or took on any employees.

“I tell school kids that creating a business takes knowledge, passion, dedication and self-belief,” he said. “At the beginning it probably means holding down a nine-to-five job at the same time – I was working in retail for four years before SBTV started to take off. More than anything, people should work to create a business that they’re passionate about, and that means something to them.”

Jamal added: I’m very excited to be supporting this important project. Hopefully it will shed some light on the source of my own drive and motivation to keep working at it, which is something I’ve been curious to discover. If it also helps other people to discover more about themselves, that can only be a good thing.”

Mercedes-Benz Vans Managing Director Steve Bridge said: “Jamal embodies the British spirit of entrepreneurialism which continues to thrive. In the era of the ‘side-hustle’, and with increasing numbers of new businesses emerging across the UK, are the daring upstarts behind them products of their environment, or were they born with innate entrepreneurial abilities? We intend to find out.”

Mercedes-Benz Vans wants to spark a wider debate about what makes UK business, and the environment in which it operates, so unique. “We have a long history as a country of breaking new ground, and making things happen,” observed Steve. “The fact that our own customers consistently demonstrate the same levels of drive fascinates us. What makes them so motivated? What unites them? What worries them? Where does their shared entrepreneurial spirit come from? Is it nature or nurture? We want to know, because we are interested in our customers – and because the more we know about what drives the UK’s business leaders, the better we can help those who use Mercedes-Benz vans to support their own enterprises.”

Avi Lasarow, CEO of DNAfit, said: “We are excited to be working with Mercedes-Benz Vans on the fascinating ‘Entrepreneur Gene Project’. So much of the energy and drive within the UK business landscape is generated by SMEs and businesses in the private sector, led by the business owners and entrepreneurs who drive them forward. I’m thrilled that DNAfit is providing the science behind the project, and to play our parts in the journey towards a better understanding of the genetic profile of entrepreneurs.”

Please visit https://entrepreneurgeneproject.com/ to take part in the study.