Entrepreneurs say optimism, not education, is the key

Obsessive optimism is the key to being a great entrepreneur.

Forget education, great contacts and networks or mentoring, it's the obstinacy of personality that drives people to business success. That's the finding of a new study by O2, the mobile phone operator, to coincide with the launch of this year's OX Awards, which kick off this week to find the UK's best male, female and young entrepreneurs of the year.

The research asked 500 business people what drove them, and why. Simon Devonshire, head of O2's small business marketing, says that the research showed that the "obsessive optimism" trait is even more important in the current climate.

Only 14 per cent of those surveyed said that formal education was important to their success while fewer than a third had any formal business qualifications. The winner of last year's award was Sara Simmonds, the founder of Sharkah Chakra jeans, who is now working with Make Poverty History on her new campaign.

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