Professor Julie Logan from the CASS Business School carried out a study of entrepreneurs in the United States (The New York Times 06 Dec 07) which suggests that dyslexia is much more common among small-business owners than even the experts had thought, with 35% of entrepreneurs surveyed identifying themselves as dyslexic. These finding support an earlier study carried out in the U.K. by Logan [1] which found that the incidence of dyslexia in entrepreneurs was five times higher than that in the corporate manager population. This is due in part to dyslexics higher degree of creativity, increased need for achievement and enhanced communication skills.

The full extent of dyslexia among the general population is still being discovered, but it is reported to be between 4-10%, depending on its severity [2]. Public opinion of this condition, which is classified as a ‘learning disability’, may well need to be reassessed as a ‘gift’ to nascent entrepreneurs that potential investors should become more aware of. Famous entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates (Microsoft), Steve Jobs (Apple), Richard Branson (Virgin), Alan Sugar (Amstrad), John Cambers (Cisco) and the late Anita Roddick (Body Shop) are all reported to be dyslexic.

As a dyslexic entrepreneur myself I’m pleased to see that some of the more positive aspects of dyslexia are now being studied by academics and covered in leading international business journals such as BusinessWeek (12 Dec 07, Why Dyslexics make Great Entrepreneurs).  Hopefully this will encourage many more successful ‘closet dyslexics’ in the business community to openly admit their situation, and become positive role models for young dyslexics who might be struggling to decide on the future direction of their careers?

[1] Logan, J. (2002). The incidence of dyslexia in business managers and its relationship with entrepreneurial success. The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development Conference. Nottingham
[2] Harris, A. and Ross, C. (2005). Dyslexia in the workplace. Occupational Health, 57, (3) pp25-32