Britain isn’t working... quite as hard as you might think

Philip Salter
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THE glass is almost always half full for entrepreneurs. Reality is best put on the backburner when facing the trials of running a business. Hot off the press, the 2012 Hiscox DNA of an Entrepreneur study confirms that those running small and medium sized businesses in the UK, US, Netherlands and Germany are confidently facing up to these testing times. But this optimism isn’t universal – entrepreneurs in Spain and France are more pessimistic than optimistic. The EU might have won the Nobel Peace Prize, but the continent is far from united.

The Eurozone crisis is taking its toll on some countries more than others. A full 76 per cent of Spanish respondents said plans have been put on hold or abandoned by the threat of EU instability. And it’s not as though the EU is doing much to help start-ups. The report concludes that “in the five EU countries, just 1 per cent of respondents had approached a member of the European Parliament for help on a business issue.”

The study threw up a surprising insight. While Germans are the most hardworking entrepreneurs – working on average 47.1 hours per week – UK entrepreneurs are bottom of the pile, averaging 38.5 hours. Spanish and French entrepreneurs are putting in more time than us Brits, working on average 45.2 and 44.3 hours respectively. If this continues, Europe’s stereotypes might need recasting.

However, there is one thing that entrepreneurs of the world can unite behind: hatred of bureaucracy. More than two thirds of all respondents agreed that bureaucracy was a serious problem for people wanting to start a business, against just 18 per cent who disagreed.
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