By Claire West

The myth that entrepreneurs are driven solely by profit will be shattered today by new research released as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2010.

The findings, released on Social Enterprise Day, show that:

• BEING THEIR OWN BOSS: 65% of entrepreneurs started their business for independence and personal fulfilment

• SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: two-thirds of entrepreneurs think that they have a role to play in alleviating global issues such as poverty and climate change

• UK LEADING THE WORLD: the rate of social enterprise in the UK is higher than many countries including G7 nations

These statistics, derived from research carried out by Aston Business School and YouGov Stone on behalf of Enterprise UK, as well as the recent Euro Flashbarometer on Entrepreneurship, show that profit is just one of many reasons why people start a business.

Phil Pinnell, founder of Meals from Scratch; Cyndi Rhoades, founder of Anti Apathy; and Ben Ramsden, founder of Pants to Poverty are some of the UK’s leading social entrepreneurs who have been supported by UnLtd UK, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs, and are already making a positive social impact through enterprise.

Becoming an entrepreneur gives people the chance to achieve long-held ambitions — whether that is being their own boss or making a difference to the lives of others. Global Entrepreneurship Week 2010 will encourage would-be entrepreneurs to take that first step towards running their own business and changing their lives for good.

Ben Ramsden says: “For me, the goal of social business is still to maximise profits and benefit all of the shareholders in the business, but for this to make sense in today’s world we must evolve the definitions of profit and shareholders.

“Profit must be redefined from merely financial to include the social and environmental returns and all three should be generated equally. In the same way, shareholders must be redefined to represent all the stakeholders in the business - farmers, factory workers, retailers, consumers, staff and investors — the more profit the business makes, the more positive impact it can create for everyone involved."

Tom Bewick, CEO of Enterprise UK says: “Entrepreneurship isn’t just about making money, it’s about making a difference too. Global Entrepreneurship Week is about bringing together like-minded people to start up businesses with the potential to make a social as well as an economic difference to society.”

Global Entrepreneurship Week 2010, which launched this week at Google HQ in London, focuses on breaking down barriers to enterprise and tackling the commonly held ‘myths’ around entrepreneurship.

Enterprise UK, the organisation leading Global Entrepreneurship Week in the UK, commissioned the Aston Business School research in order to undermine a key myth every day.