Some 2,000 Australians – half of whom already own and operate their own business – were polled by CGU Insurance in a bid to identify why people go into business and what holds others back from doing so.
The findings suggest it is not a lack of capital or skill that is holding most people back from commercialising a new business idea, but a cultural perception: more than two-thirds (68 per cent) claimed that Australia has a negative culture around ambition.
Of those already in business, one in 20 admitted that tall poppy syndrome has been a barrier in getting their business up and running.
And despite 71 per cent stating they have had positive experiences discussing their ambitions with others, the fear of being seen as bragging has restrained a similar proportion from doing so.
What has traditionally been deemed to be the biggest brake on entrepreneurship – a fear of failure – was only reported by 44 per cent of people as a reason not to enter the business world.
It comes after a My Business poll conducted earlier this year found that almost half of business owners don’t know why they remain self-employed, given the increasing complexity and risk associated with running a business.
“Ambition shouldn’t be a dirty word. When we’re striving for our goals, we’re happier and also driving ourselves and our nation forward,” Kate Wellard, CGU’s small business spokesperson, said in response to the findings.
“While we have long been known as the ‘Lucky Country’, our prosperity depends on our ability to make our own luck.
“To do that, we need to start fostering and backing ambition of all kinds, whether this be starting a business, creating something new or innovative, or even migrating to Australia to build a better life.”