UK only 14th most entrepreneurial nation

A study that ranks countries on their entrepreneurialism has placed the UK outside of the top ten, with the US in first place.

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

According to the 2012 Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index (GEDI), the UK is dragging its feet in the entrepreneur stakes. The study has just released its analysis of 2010 enterprise data to show which countries are driving the most business innovation and growth. In first place the US, of course, closely followed by Australia, then Sweden and Canada in joint third place.

The report ranked the ‘entrepreneurialism’ of 78 countries in total, and while 14th place isn’t an appalling score, the fact that we come sixth out of the EU nations shows that, according to the GEDI measure, we’re losing our edge. The UK is behind Belgium, the Netherlands and Austria and neck-and-neck with Ireland, Finland, France and Germany.

Still, at least we haven’t dropped down the ranking: we were 14th the previous year as well. Denmark has sunk from first to sixth place in just 12 months. Although, conversely, Taiwan didn’t even feature in the 2009 index, and is now sitting pretty in ninth place. The GEDI, which was this year commissioned by the Imperial College Business School, The Heritage Foundation, and George Mason University in the US, calls itself a ‘barometer’ of global entrepreneurship.

But conducting a study that tries to measure entrepreneurialism is no mean feat. According to GEDI, a nation’s entrepreneurialism is not dependent on the number of new firm registrations in each country or on high-growth firms, but also a country’s attitudes and aspirations, as well as individual-level entrepreneurial activities. MT would like to see what an ‘attitude-o-meter’ looks like…

The report does point out however, some of the flaws that pushed the UK out of the top ten. It recommends that the UK should prioritise increasing risk capital, process innovation, high growth, product innovation and internationalisation in order to improve its entrepreneurialism ranking. Basically we need more investment and we need to export more. Easy to say, harder to do.

But of course that caveat won’t be enough to satisfy David ‘Enterprise Zone’ Cameron: we’ve still got a national debt to pay!

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