Scots are only half as likely as those from similar countries to start their own business, enterprise researchers at Strathclyde University have found. But they are more likely to start a business the better qualified they are.
As Scots gain higher qualifications, their fear of failure as a barrier to entrepreneurship falls, and they are more likely to see opportunities. Graduates are more likely to employ other people than non-graduate entrepreneurs, and the chances of employing a large workforce increase with a postgraduate qualification.
The findings come in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor for Scotland carried out by the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship@Strathclyde. It shows that nearly 60 per cent of those surveyed in Norway and Finland saw opportunities for a start-up compared with 24 per cent of Scots.
Research fellow Laura Galloway said: "While our figures show there's still plenty of room for improvement in Scotland's attitudes to entrepreneurship, we take heart from the fact that they indicate that education can boost entrepreneurship rates."
More men than women said they had the skills to start a business. But women with a second degree are more likely to have the confidence to become entrepreneurs (62 per cent) than those with a first degree or vocational qualifications (41 per cent), or those with school qualifications (28 per cent) or no qualifications (8 per cent).
Hunter Centre director Jonathan Levie recommended that the Scottish Executive continue to expand and upgrade its enterprise education programmes.