Medical AI founder credits team sports for combatting loneliness proactively

23-year-old MedTech start-up founder, Moises Barbera Ramos, attributes his childhood playing team sport as the reason why he has created his own support network while founding his own business, Drill Surgeries.

The start-up that uses algorithms and artificial intelligence to improve efficiency in surgery to stabilise broken bones and reduce excess radiation from x-rays has required Moises to work long hours up to seven days a week while establishing the company. However, his experiences of community and togetherness from playing team sports as a youngster have led him to create his own support network to avoid a work-related mental health decline.

The entrepreneur has also organised proactive mental health coaching sessions to combat the loneliness of entrepreneurialism which affects a quarter (25%) of entrepreneurs. The sessions allow him to take a step away from the day-to-day of being a business owner and have someone to confide in who can offer an external perspective.

The Accountancy Partnership recently conducted research into the expectations vs reality of starting a business and found long working weeks are the reality of many small business owners, with 28% saying they work longer hours, 40% higher than the number who expected it. However, this has not stopped Moises from winning the Entrepreneur of the Year award at Educate North.

“I knew entrepreneurialism wouldn’t be easy, I work seven days a week and even though I am putting a team together, most tasks still fall to me,” says Moises. “However, what we are working on feels like it has a purpose and is new and exciting, so I don’t mind working sometimes 70 hours a week. At least doing it for myself I can do it under my own rules.”

Having less free time was a reality reported by more than a third (36%) of business owners, compared to only 23% saying they expected it before starting. The poll of 235 small business owners also found that longer working hours are now a regular occurrence for 28%, versus 20% of owners predicting it.

Despite these long hours and as a result of the support network, Moises can enjoy his free time and has been able to enjoy a family holiday and music festival around his outside work life.

Moises continued: “I was recently able to go and visit my family in Spain and spend the days with them before working in the evening. For those in traditional employment, this would not be a possibility as they need to be working during office hours. As long as I am prepared and on top of everything going on, I can enjoy my free time as and when I please.”

Flexibility in working hours is a reality experienced by half (50%) of small business owners. Given the shift from living around work to working around life that has been gathering momentum in recent years, this is likely a key motivator for becoming an entrepreneur and continuing with the lifestyle despite having less free time.

“Running this business gives me so much more freedom than working a nine to five would. I wouldn’t recommend being an entrepreneur to everyone, but I love it and couldn’t go back to traditional hours,” continued Moises.

The Accountancy Partnership’s research has revealed that the expectations of being a business owner are often far from reality. Despite a better work-life balance being a key motivator for people becoming their own boss, one in five (20%) entrepreneurs have experienced a worse work-life balance compared to just over one in ten (12%) that expected it to be a challenge.

Lee Murphy, Managing Director at The Accountancy Partnership, said: “It’s no secret that being your own boss and starting a business is hard work. This research highlights that the reality of running a business in 2022 can be very different to what they expect. This can partly be attributed to the continuing difficult conditions, including inflation, the pandemic, and staff shortages, as well as a generally low level of business knowledge.”

The research also highlighted the low levels of business knowledge among new start-up owners, who rated their awareness as five out of 10 on average, showing that many entrepreneurs are ill-prepared.

Lee continued: “By highlighting the disparity between expectations and realities for business owners we can help plug the knowledge gap with support and guidance to help new SMEs grow and thrive. Being your own boss is often thought to be quite glamourous, but it also involves a huge amount of responsibility, which can contribute to a reduced work-life balance, longer working hours, and less free time.”