ADHD Entrepreneurs

There is a lot of evidence to point towards a link between ADHD and entrepreneurship. The scientific article I picked is called Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) And Entrepeneurship by Kevin M. Antshel of Syracuse University. Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition in which a person is very inattentive, hyperactivate, and even impulsive. The first symptoms are usually seen before age 12 and cannot be explained by any other condition. While ADHD was always thought to only affect children (Hill & Schooner, 1996), within the past 25 years evidence has been collected suggesting that ADHD often continues into adulthood (Biederman, Petty, Evans, Small, & Faraone, 2010; Mannuzza, Klein, & Moulton, 2003). Several empirical papers have reported a link with qualities of ADHD and qualities of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs are the people who venture to create and develop businesses. There are many successful entrepreneurs with ADHD such as Paul Orfalea with Kinkos, David Neeleman with JetBlue, and Ingvar Kamprad with Ikea. In fact, there is data to show that having ADHD can help with entrepreneurship. People with ADHD are usually more goal oriented, responsible, respectful, and self-directed. These are very good traits to have if you want to be successful as self-employed. However, ADHD come with many lack of traits such as good sustained attention, response inhibition, and working memory. On the downside, childhood ADHD costs the society 50-60 billion dollars a year in the United states which is making it a public health issue (Pelham, Foster, & Robb, 2007). Yet this condition is quite abundant in the world of entrepreneurship.

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A study conducted by Dimic and Orlov (2014) took 270 adults, some with and some without ADHD through a rehabilitation support center that was not specifically for ADHD. They were seeking to find patterns in participants ADHD and marketing qualities. The experiment was conducted in 1991 and the participants where given the General Enterprising Tendency (GET) test (Caird, 1991). The (GET) is used to measure a person’s own personal desire for autonomy, independence, and achievement. It also tests their attitude to moderate risk taking and their creativity. Demographic differences did emerge in the group with ADHD. The entrepreneurs that had ADHD were a lot less likely to have a college education than non-entrepreneurs with ADHD. Also, those who were diagnosed with ADHD had a 30% increase in probability of being an entrepreneur. This was especially strong in males with ADHD. The ADHD group scored higher levels with the (GET) dimensions in categories like personal desire for autonomy, independence, achievements, moderate risk taking, and their creativity. The group without ADHD scored higher levels on the (GET) drive and determination subscale. The conductors/authors of the study concluded that ADHD should not be understood as a disturbance in society, but as an affliction that could offer a rich source of people suited for entrepreneurship (Dimic & Orlov, 2014, p. 193).

This study was cross-sectional and found that ADHD was directly associated with increased odds of being an entrepreneur. However, they found that non-entrepreneurs with ADHD were a lot more likely to have a college education than entrepreneurs with ADHD. That suggests that people with ADHD that have a college education could end up turning to entrepreneurship because they have less other employment options.

I think that the data from the experiments research is fascinating because I have ADHD and have always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I do agree with the study’s conclusion in that people with ADHD have many qualities of entrepreneurship. I think that ADHD should stop being looked at as a setback but possibly an advantage. The world will always need entrepreneurs and people with ADHD are like naturals to perform an entrepreneur’s tasks. I sometimes cannot pay attention but I have some very creative ideas. This is a setback now in school but I think I can use this to my advantage in my later stages of life. I think the tests are good because they first looked at favorable qualities in entrepreneurs and then tried to match them with people with ADHD. Anyone with ADHD that is struggling to find a career should see if entrepreneurship is something they might aspire to do. This article has helped me realize that I need to use my ADHD to my advantage and try and work through the setbacks.

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ADHD Entrepreneurs. (2019, Jul 31). Retrieved January 31, 2023 , from

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