• Entrepreneurship

Audacity and prudence: the keys to the success of “Elite Entrepreneurs”

For the third edition of its “BNP Paribas Elite Entrepreneurs” report, BNP Paribas Wealth Management surveyed 2,650 successful entrepreneurs in 21 countries. What path did they take to success? What are their priorities and objectives? Discover these “Elite Entrepreneurs,” broken down into five profiles.

A profile of the Elite entrepreneur

The "2017 BNP Paribas Entrepreneur" report, produced by BNP Paribas Wealth Management in partnership with Scorpio Partnership, is one of the largest international surveys regarding entrepreneurs: the third edition polled almost 2,650 entrepreneurs in 21 countries. Its goal is to sketch a profile of the “Elite entrepreneur” in 2017. Elite entrepreneurs are defined as those holding a net worth of at least $15 million (and whose primary business generates an annual revenue of $8.5 million). It also aims to understand how these entrepreneurs have created their success! 

Heavyweights in the global economy

Elite Entrepreneurs may not be omnipresent, but with a combined net worth of $40 billion, they are heavyweights in global business.

“ In 2017, Elite Entrepreneurs will contribute widely to the global economy. Even though they earn 50-65% of their revenue in their domestic market, their business approaches are becoming more international ”

Sofia Merlo

Co-CEO of BNP Paribas Wealth Management

Who are these Elite entrepreneurs? 

If we go by the numbers, the “typical” entrepreneur is male (65%), between 36 and 54 years old (45%), European (47%) and has started an average of 3.5 businesses. They have also benefited from a “family history in entrepreneurship” (71%) and focus on 3 key sectors: IT, web/mobile/digital and manufacturing.

 These numbers go a long way in confirming stereotypes. But watch out: behind these figures lie several contrasting elements. To refine the conception of “Elite entrepreneurs,” the report broke them out into five very different categories. Each “family” has its own attitude, priorities and objectives

5 families of entrepreneurs

Ultrapreneurs (with net worth over $25 million), 77% of whom view CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) as an “important or extremely important” aspect of their businesses and investments. They notably devote 9% of their assets to socially responsible investments. Not only are they mindful of their impact on society, Ultrapreneurs are also optimistic: 71% expect profits to rise in the next 12 months. 

Serialpreneurs (owning or having started at least four operating companies; 7.5 on average) operate a primary business that earns an annual revenue of $10.3 million, higher than the average. These hyperactive entrepreneurs, who are most numerous in India, France, the USA and Indonesia, always have new projects in the works: 21% consider the next great opportunity to be “Starting up a new business in a new industry.”Millennipreneurs, born between 1980 and 2000, prefer IT, web/mobile/digital and engineering. Among them, 31% own multiple businesses. For Millennipreneurs, wealth creation opportunities abound in education (43%), the communication revolution (42%) and the scientific and technology revolution (39%). Women Entrepreneurs (916 among 2,650 surveyed entrepreneurs), who have typically started 4 businesses in their lifetime, also outperform their male counterparts: their average net worth is $15.9 million and their primary business earns an average annual revenue of $8.6 million. Their goal is to achieve positive outcomes for their business and change society. Boomerpreneurs, baby boomers aged 55 or over, prefer to invest in businesses rather than start their own. Starting their entrepreneurial ventures much later in life—they started their first company at 37 on average—57% say they are ready to step up their use of crowdfunding for their entrepreneurial investments. 

Are you an "Elite entrepreneur" ? 

Take the 7-question quiz developed by the New York Times and BNP Paribas Wealth Management to find out if you have the mindset of a successful entrepreneur!


Accepting risk, as long as it is properly managed 

Starting a business is an inherently risky activity. Yet Elite Entrepreneurs show an extraordinary level of confidence, both in themselves and their projects. They accept risk as long as it is managed—Serialpreneurs even view risk as a necessary condition for success—so they value intelligence (12%), a bit of luck (11%) and technical expertise (10%).

As entrepreneurs, they see themselves as good judges and managers of risk, so they can remain calm! Less than a quarter of Elite Entrepreneurs say their business concerns keep them up at night.

 In managing their personal wealth, these successful entrepreneurs are just as thoughtful and prudent. Far from investing their fortunes in their businesses, as some believe, they are resolutely focused on diversification – in Private Equity, stocks, bonds and real estate.

Their businesses represent just 16% of their wealth. Cash and property each account for 12% of their net worth, with the rest spread between stocks, bonds and socially responsible investments. They also diversify their investments geographically – in the USA, China, Germany and Great Britain. That strategy illustrates a shared trait among these Elite Entrepreneurs: using good judgement and spreading risk to limit and control it! 

Keep in touch and receive our newsletter!

Select your topics of interest and frequency of delivery.