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Passion drives the world’s entrepreneurs to contribute more than $8.3tn to the global after-hours economy

Business-owners have sacrificed love, family and fun for their dream business ideas

The world’s small & medium business owners have contributed $8.3 trillion to the global economy by working beyond the standard industry hours for their businesses, according to a new global survey by Sage.

But this contribution comes at a price. Nearly half (46%) of all global business owners work over 40 hours a week. German entrepreneurs are working particularly hard, with 57% working more than 40 hours every week. Australian business owners are achieving a better work life balance, with 31% saying they are working more than 40 hours a week.

The survey by Sage, the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems, highlights the true sacrifices made by entrepreneurs around the world.

Over a third (36%) of those surveyed say they have sacrificed family time for their businesses. That figure was particularly high in South Africa, where 44% of business owners have chosen their work over their family. Globally, 44% of business owners say that their dedication to their enterprise has affected their relationships.

Perhaps as a result of their long working weeks, over half (52%) of German small business owners have cancelled a date because of work. This is particularly high compared with the global average of 27%.

The survey highlights the human sacrifice made by small & medium business owners to power the global economy. Over half of all business owners (66%) say the extra hours are worth it. More than a third (41%) are driven by the love of what they do, whilst 38% say they are motivated by the sense of achievement. Particularly motivated are entrepreneurs in South Africa, where 51% say they are motivated by the love of their business, with 59% motivated by the sense of achievement.

Stephen Kelly, CEO of Sage comments: ‘We know it takes hard work and human sacrifice to turn a dream business idea into a way of life. This survey highlights the extent of that commitment. It is the entrepreneurial spirit that makes the difference all over the world, and the contribution of these businesses that powers the global economy. We should do all we can to support these heroes and recognise all those hours of hard work they are putting in after the rest of the world has gone home’.

The research has been launched as part of a broader campaign by Sage to recognise and celebrate the contribution small business owners make to the global economy. As part of this campaign, Sage is calling for small business owners to let it know why they do what they do, via a short video submission. For further details, please visit Stephen’s blog.
Sage will also be running a series of advice sessions, from November 30-December 4. Each will involve a number of Sage spokespeople, including CEO Stephen Kelly, and will address the key challenges of running a small business – as identified by the research. To find out more about these sessions, please visit Stephen Kelly’s blog here.

Research methodology

The survey was conducted among 2621 BDMs in companies with under 100 employees in 11 countries.
The interviews were conducted online by Redshift Research in November 2015 using an email invitation and an online survey.

About Sage

Sage energizes the success of businesses and their communities around the world through the use of smart technology and the imagination of our people. Sage has reimagined business and brings energy, experience, and technology to inspire our customers to fulfil their dreams. We work with a thriving community of entrepreneurs, business owners, tradespeople, accountants, partners, and developers who drive the global economy. Sage is a FTSE 100 company with 14,000 employees in 24 countries.

For more information, visit