By Max Clarke

Rising coverage of entrepreneurs in the media is helping to persuade more people to consider a career as their own boss, new research published today by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills shows.

The ‘Impact of Media on Entrepreneurial Intentions and Actions’ report supports the view that media portrayals of enterprise are promoting more positive social values towards entrepreneurship, with one in five non-entrepreneurs being motivated to start their own business having watched programmes such as Dragon’s Den, The Apprentice and The Secret Millionaire.

Nearly nine out of ten established entrepreneurs surveyed also believe programmes are making people think more positively about entrepreneurs and the same proportion feel they make people want to start their own business.

“The media has such an important role to play in creating a positive image around entrepreneurship and starting your own business. It is very encouraging to see such a dramatic shift in recent years. And I hope this trend continues.” said Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk.

“The Government is focused relentlessly on supporting growth across our economy. Backing and encouraging new enterprises to start up, and small businesses to grow, will deliver new jobs and transform our economy.

Prisk continued: “We need to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs, showing them the ambitions they can realise in business. The media can play a crucial role in this.”

The report, which involved a re-survey of 1,250 respondents from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor UK 2009 Adult Population Survey shows that: around half the sample of non-entrepreneurs thought more positively about entrepreneurs in general; that television in particular had influenced this decision; and that nearly half of respondents had learned how businesses are started and run through a TV programme in the past year.

The research also found an educational role being played by media portrayals, with two-fifths saying programmes had shown them the practical steps to start a new business.

The study was commissioned by Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to gain insight into what effect the media’s portrayal of entrepreneurs is having on entrepreneurial attitudes, aspirations and activity.