Some 47 per cent say they would vote for the Virgin boss, followed by 21 per cent who would elect Lord Alan Sugar, 14 per cent Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne and 14 per cent James Dyson, according to a poll from SmallBusiness.co.uk.
Martyn Roberts, founder of insulation company Global Insulation Logistics, says: ‘Richard Branson resonates with entrepreneurs because he is a businessman first and foremost and his celebrity has come from his determination to do whatever it takes to make his company successful. I also like Alan Sugar because he’s straight talking, has total conviction in everything he does and can spot talent in people that others might overlook.’
Jeff Dakin, director of loyalty rewards company Htec, says the UK needs more business people in politics: ‘Career politicians who have not served as captains of industry cannot hope to understand the complexities of running and growing a business.’
‘Deep respect is afforded for those like Richard Branson who create enduring value for many people.’
Of the 620 small businesses polled, 3 per cent say they would vote for ex-supermodel and lingerie entrepreneur Caprice Bourret if she stood for prime minister.
Branson top choice for SMEs
In an earlier poll, small firms across Britain had said that they would hire Sir Richard Branson as their star apprentice.
According to the survey by James Hay, some 42 per cent of small business bosses see Branson as the ideal apprentice, with Sir Alan Sugar and Sir James Dyson coming in second and third.
Sir Alan polled 12 per cent of the votes and Sir James got the nod from five per cent of small business moguls.
Commenting on the findings, Shaun Sandiford, regional director, James Hay, says: ‘Who better to have as apprentices than two people who left school to build multi-million pound business empires from the ground up?’
He added: ‘Entrepreneurs clearly recognise and respect the abundance of self-motivation and drive that it took these two figureheads to get to where they are today.’
Respondents also revealed that the top quality of a successful entrepreneur was hard work, followed by self-discipline.