Declaration of independence Featured

9:51am EDT July 22, 2002

It seems the American Revolution lives on, with more people seeking independence here in the U.S. than in any other country in the world. Business independence, that is.

According to presidential appointee Gere Glover, chief counsel for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, one in 12 Americans “did something” last year to start this or her own small business. That’s more than 8.3 percent of the population, Washington, D.C.-based Glover told business owners recently at the SMC Business Councils’ annual Chairman’s Dinner.

That compares to Finland, where only one in 67, or 1.5 percent of the population, tries to start businesses, he says. Denmark, France, Germany and Japan all experience business starts from only 1.8 percent of the population, while Italy and the United Kingdom both maintained a 6.7 percent rate. And Israel and Canada both landed at 6 percent of the population.

Another recent study, this one commissioned by Aquent Partners, found that one in four American workers is an independent professional, or, as Aquent describes such a person, an individual who has rejected traditional employment for the freedom, flexibility and control of living boss-free.

Aquent is a 12-year-old Boston-based company with an office in Pittsburgh which provides independent professionals with access to work, professional training and benefits such as insurance, retirement and cash-flow management programs.

In its survey of 1,000 U.S. adults, entitled “The Aquent Index: An Annual Profile of the Independent Professional,” Aquent found that 77 percent of independent professionals say they are “advantaged because they command greater control over their careers and are more likely to feel adequately compensated for their work.” In fact, the survey found that those people are twice as likely to earn annual salaries of more than $75,000.

Among the survey’s other findings: IPs coming from all backgrounds and job categories and demographically match traditional workers in terms of education, marital status, gender and race. However, they also tend to place a strong emphasis on making their own decisions and managing their own careers.

Politically, they are less likely to favor government solutions for social problems, including education and health care, and prefer to live by marketplace dynamics and in a spirit of self-reliance.

John Chuang, the company’s 34-year-old co-founder and CEO, says he launched the study because “although 24 percent of the U.S. work force are independent professionals, no one is clear on who they are, what they value and what they believe.”

His conclusion: “IPs are entrepreneurial individuals who embody the true American spirit.”

How to reach: SBA Office of Advocacy, (412) 205-6533; Aquent Partners, (412)322-4940