The ability to be your own boss and not the ability to make large amounts of money is the main motivation for entrepreneurs, according to a new piece of research.

The Entrepreneur in Adversity report, published by Barclays Wealth and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), polled 1,000 entrepreneurs in a bid to identify their motivations, characteristics and how the enterprise environment in which they operate has changed in the last decade.

The ability to be your own boss (42 per cent) was the most popular benefit of being a successful entrepreneur, followed by achieving financial independence (39 per cent). The ability to create influential new products and services was the third most popular (38 per cent). Only 29 per cent of entrepreneurs saw the ability to make large sums of money as the most important benefit.

The study also identified the most important traits required to succeed as an entrepreneur. Perseverance (44 per cent) was deemed to be the most essential. This was followed by willingness to take risks (35 per cent) and creativity (33 per cent). These characteristics were consistent across the United Kingdom, suggesting that the challenges faced by entrepreneurs don’t vary widely.

Graham Nicoll, regional centre head of Barclays Wealth in Birmingham, said: “The public perception of entrepreneurs has often been closely associated with money, but the findings of this study paint a very different picture as the majority of respondents ranked it fourth. Independence and the ability to innovate are deemed far more important.”

Richard Harpin, owner of Walsall-based company HomeServe, said: “I’m sure these findings will surprise some people, but they resonate with my personal experiences..

“From my experience, the Midlands possesses a real spirit of creativity and innovation that powers a flow of great new ideas. The entrepreneurial gene is well and truly alive and stands us in good stead ahead of any downturn.”

Birmingham came top of the European Cities Entrepreneurship ranking for 2008, beating off London, Paris, Rome, Madrid and Berlin. Mr Nicoll added: “Qualities such as creativity or ability to take risk feature regularly, but it’s interesting to see that perseverance has risen to become the most valuable attribute. Breaking down barriers is key to not only getting a business off the ground, but also reaching the next summit the entrepreneur is aiming for.”