Background of the tool

Aimed at providing entrepreneurs with a scientifically sound and practical tool and supporting them in their start-up activities, the FHNW School of Applied Psychology, part of the FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, developed the Entrepreneur-Check (EC) as part of the university’s Entrepreneurship strategic initiative.

This online tool offers entrepreneurs feedback from two perspectives: the first module (EC-P) offers a personality test; the second (EC-G) focuses on health-related behaviour.

Outlined below is a brief summary of some relevant scientific findings of our working group.

Personality module

The Personality module (EC-P) operationalises 12 success-relevant traits derived from a number of meta-analyses. This is the first time that these personality traits have been used together to predict the success of entrepreneurs in founding and running a business. The independent and incremental validity of the individual traits was checked by means of differentiated criteria culled from various different phases of the founding process. In an empirical study involving N=244 entrepreneurs, it became evident that the 12 traits complement each other (multiple regression, multiple corrected R = .47) and that they exhibit a differential validity for the success criteria. Individual personality traits such as motivation and self-efficacy proved to be valid across criteria and phases. Although the module was developed with entrepreneurs in mind, it is also valid for self-employed persons – who are not entrepreneurs in the narrower sense – as well as intrapreneurs.

Health module

The “Health and Efficiency” module (EC-G) focuses on the particular importance of self-organisation for entrepreneurs. On stressful, self-directed working days, entrepreneurs need to pay attention to getting the work done while watching out for the risk of “interested self-endangerment” (e.g. working during holidays, at the weekend or despite illness); they must take care of themselves so as to remain healthy and productive in the long term. Other studies have shown that self-employed people work significantly more, but report better health. That said, a study we conducted of 244 self-employed people in Switzerland showed that working long hours and other aspects of self-endangerment can have a downside: for example, long working hours were accompanied by a lack of switching off in the evening (r = .49), while intensive work was accompanied by exhaustion (r = .52) (N = 244).