Business founders: more willing to take risks in Germany

Germany has a new generation of upcoming business founders. They believe in their ideas and are willing to take risks – the best prerequisites for successful business start-ups. For example, it takes far more courage and staying power to start a business in Ethiopia.

The mentality of young business founders has shifted, says Christian Veith, chairman of the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and South Africa region and former Chair of the German Management Team at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). He notes that new business people are needed urgently – and by no means solely in the New Economy.

‘For some time now we have been observing a new generation of business founders in Germany. Many young people believe in their ideas and are really tenacious as they realise them. They are prepared to take risks, and demonstrate confidence and staying power – all of which are key characteristics in an entrepreneur.’

The Boston Consulting Group

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm. It was founded in 1963 and has 78 offices in 43 countries.
Dr Christian Veith is chairman of the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and South Africa region. He is a member of the Executive Committee. He specialises in the development of company strategies.

It is more difficult starting a business in Ethiopia than in Germany

Patience is a quality that Fitsum Jabamo, a business founder and development aid advisor in Ethiopia, also has to have. ‘It is very difficult to start a business in Ethiopia’, he says. His firm is specialised in political translations from Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia. Furthermore, the risks are extremely high: ‘If the company fails, the licence is not renewed. You lose your network and in a case of bankruptcy you don’t get any support from the bank’.

For business founders in Germany, becoming self-employed most importantly means independence: the freedom to realise one’s own ideas. Christian Veith has observed that the mentality of German business founders has changed: ‘If something does not work the first time you try it, today it is no longer a blemish for the rest of your life. Now many young entrepreneurs have a more sober way of thinking than before. They ask themselves: what have I got to lose? And then they calculate the answer objectively.’

In comparison with many other countries, business founders have a much easier time in Germany’s welfare state. They can even take out insurance to protect themselves against losing their income if the business fails. That is a privilege that young entrepreneurs in poor countries such as Ethiopia can only dream of.

Fitsum Tarekegn Consulting

Fitsum Tarekegn Jabamo is a sociologist and entrepreneur in Ethiopia. In 2009 he founded the company ‘Fitsum Tarekegn Consulting, professional translation and other technical support services’. It specialises in translating political measures out of Amharic.

Anywhere in the world, business founders need a good idea and have to be willing to take risks

One thing applies to entrepreneurs worldwide: they stand for progress, growth and competitiveness. Their typical characteristics also include assertiveness, staying power and leadership qualities. Business founders must have the will to invest private time and private money in their business. All those who are considering becoming self-employed should therefore ask themselves honestly, are my physical and mental capacities sufficient for launching a business?

When founding a business start-up, it is still essential to have a promising business idea. Günter Faltin, Professor of Entrepreneurship in Berlin, supports the thesis that a well thought out concept is actually more important than capital. And that anyone can found a company. Those who are convinced of their business idea should at least consider realising it in a start-up.

Business founders boost the national economy

Looking beyond these personal goals, business start-ups are also especially significant to the national economy as a whole. With innovative products, new procedures and new services, start-up companies challenge existing businesses – which invigorates competition. In Germany we are currently seeing a real wave of business start-ups. ‘Only very few start-ups turn into global corporations. But even a successful medium-sized company is a huge success – also from the perspective of a business founder. After all, the success of the entire German economy is largely based on such innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)’, says Christian Veith.


Finally, every potential business founder has to ask: am I an entrepreneur? Finding out is definitely less risky in Germany than it is in a poor country like Ethiopia.

Foundation for Entrepreneurship

Günter Faltin is a professor at the Freie Universität in Berlin, where he is head of the research division on Entrepreneurship. In 1985 he founded the company Projektwerkstatt GmbH and initiated the ‘Teekampagne’ (Tea Campaign); the company has become the largest importer of Darjeeling tea in the world. He is a founding member of the Existenzgründer-Institut and created the ‘Stiftung Entrepreneurship’ (Foundation for Entrepreneurship – Faltin Stiftung). Günter Faltin has written a book entitled ‘Kopf schlägt Kapital’ (Brains Beat Capital).

May 2013

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