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ADHD makes good entrepreneurs: study

Press Association logoPress Association 28/03/2017 Claire Hayhurst

People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can harness their symptoms by becoming entrepreneurs, researchers say.

A study by the University of Bath in England found symptoms such as hyperactivity and impulsiveness, which pose daily challenges to those with ADHD, can be beneficial.

Such symptoms can have a positive impact on entrepreneurial traits such as risk taking, persistence and time commitment.

Impulsiveness - which people with ADHD can find difficult to suppress - results in bold business decisions made intuitively without considering the consequences.

Several participants in the study cited boredom in previous jobs as a reason for setting up their own company, where they could follow their own ideas when they wanted.

People with ADHD display an unusual level of concentration, known as hyperfocus, when they have a strong interest in a task.

This can translate into expertise which paves the way for gaining a substantial competitive advantage, the researchers say.

The study found those with ADHD often work day and night without taking time off due to hyperfocus and physical restlessness associated with the disorder.

Professor Dimo Dimov, from the university's School of Management, said successful entrepreneurs were frequently reported to have ADHD.

"The study of entrepreneurs with ADHD shows that the condition was a key factor in their decision to go into business for themselves and it positively impacted on important entrepreneurial traits."

The study, published in the Journal of Business Venturing Insights, involved 14 self-employed people with ADHD, who were asked about their diagnoses, careers and personal background.

Many of those surveyed said they act without thinking in business, even when making far-reaching decisions.

Professor Holger Patzelt, of the Entrepreneurial Research Institute at the Technical University of Munich, added impulsiveness had a special role to play.

"For people with ADHD it is okay to make intuitive decisions even if the results are bad," Professor Patzelt said.

"In situations that would be highly stressful for others, such as difficult meetings with important customers, many of those surveyed felt at ease and stimulated."

One third of those surveyed failed in their business ventures or had little success.

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