What do entrepreneurs in America have in common with entrepreneurs in Qatar? More than you might imagine, according to a recent survey sponsored by the organizers of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), the world's largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.
The 2013 GEW Policy Survey results, released today by GEW co-creator and co-sponsor, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, reveal both similarities and differences among entrepreneurs around the world in their perceptions of entrepreneurial policies and other resources. Participants were asked to respond to 12 statements about their experiences in the areas of regulation, access to resources and entrepreneurial environment. The survey also gathered respondents' demographic information, including whether they currently owned a business or planned to start one in the next year.
While the response rate was relatively low -- approximately 2,279 current or expected entrepreneurs in 109 countries -- the results nonetheless begin to paint a picture of the cultural and regulatory conditions entrepreneurs experience around the globe.
"The survey was designed as an experimental means of gathering and publishing a standardized set of information worldwide on the entrepreneurial experience to inform government policies," said Dane Stangler, director of Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation. "The sample size is large and dispersed enough to indicate differences among regions and nations that are both logical and, at least in part, statistically significant.”
Globally, survey respondents were a little less than two-thirds male and 36 years old on average -- 59 percent were 35 years old or younger. More than three-quarters of respondents globally owned a business (76.9 percent) -- two-thirds of which had been started within the past five years -- with the remainder planning to start a business within the next 12 months. North America had the highest rate of current business ownership at 91 percent.
In terms of their respective entrepreneurial environments, respondents worldwide had a slightly negative experience, with a composite score of 3.9 on a scale of 1-7, with 4.0 being "neutral." However, this varied among the eight different regions represented: composite scores for Australia & Oceania and for North America were significantly more positive (4.9 and 4.6, respectively), while scores for Latin America & Caribbean and Eastern Europe were significantly more negative (3.6 and 3.4, respectively).
Responses to the four statements regarding regulation -- including "the process for registering a business with the government is clear and easy" and "public officials who regulate business are competent and honest" -- received the lowest average scores. The most positive response worldwide was to the resources-related statement "entrepreneurs like me have access to advisors and mentors who can provide helpful guidance." Interestingly, the statements with the lowest average scores also had the largest variances, suggesting that entrepreneurship-related regulations vary significantly from country to country.
Other survey findings include:
"The results of this initial survey were both informative and thought-provoking," said Jonathan Ortmans, president of Global Entrepreneurship Week and a Kauffman Foundation senior fellow. "We hope these kinds of surveys along with other efforts underway at GEW will help drive a conversation between startup communities and government policy advisors eager to accelerate the pace of new firm formation in their countries.”
Dozens of policy-related events are planned during GEW, including:
Complete results are available in the GEW Policy Survey report.
Entrepreneurs Lack Recognition of Celebrities, Politicians and Athletes
The Work of Global Entrepreneurship Week Continues