Celebrating the art of bootstrapping

The latest Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation report, A Snapshot of the Emerging Entrepreneur, makes for really interesting reading as it looks at the characteristics of successful high growth early stage companies and identifies what makes them tick. One of the findings that will resonate particularly here in Africa is that even rapidly growing companies tend to be funded by their founders. In the research report, 52 percent of the entrepreneurs mentioned using a substantial amount of their own money, or money from their previous business, to start their company. In fact, 31 percent completely financed the company themselves (with zero investors), relying on the art of bootstrapping. These latest findings were also backed up by other research on Inc. 500 companies in the US that found 59 percent of the companies interviewed were financed by the entrepreneurs’ own funds. There are some lessons for us all.