Figures released at the launch of the 2008
Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) today at Aston Business School,
Birmingham, suggest that West Midlanders continue to embrace entrepreneurship
with more than 6% of people taking part in early stage entrepreneurial activity
as opposed to 5.5% for the UK as a whole.
The report, which draws on seven years of
survey data on 160,000 respondents, provides a unique picture of business
start-up activity across the UK. It showed that female entrepreneurship in the
area is slightly above the national average (3.9%) with woman two-fifths (44%)
as likely to be entrepreneurs as their male counterparts. Midlands’s men
account for double the number of women embarking into entrepreneurial
activities (8.9%) and sit at 1.5% above the national average. They are also two
and a half times likely to start a business in the next three years.
The report, sponsored by Advantage West
Midlands, also shows that Midlands’s entrepreneurs are the youngest in the UK
with 5.4 % of young people (aged 18-24) in the Midlands planning on making
their mark on the business community as opposed to the national figure of 4.1%.
At 7.1%, 25-34 year olds are however the most entrepreneurial in the region
whereas nationally the average is 35-44 years old.
On the downside, the report also shows that
there is real concern for the entrepreneurial spirit in the Midlands as those
looking to set up in the future feel as though the opportunities to start up
business in the next six months are low (21.1%), an attitude that has seen a
10% drop since the last report. In contrast, fear of failure for new business
start-ups remained relatively unchanged as the UK entrepreneurial spirit saw a
slight growth in those wanting to set up in businesses in 2008 despite the
Professor Mark Hart from Aston Business School
said: “We clearly believe that we have what it takes in the West Midlands to be
“Developing enterprise and an enterprise
culture remain key policy objectives in the West Midlands and this has shown
that it’s now an area that enterprise is thriving. Over half of people in the
UK agree that starting a business is a good career choice and almost
three-quarters of them agree that successful entrepreneurs have a high status
in society. But the conversion rate from positive attitudes to
entrepreneurship into positive intentions seems to be comparatively low.
Clearly, more work needs to be done to demonstrate the benefits of
entrepreneurship to individuals.”
Dr Jonathan Levie, of the Hunter Centre for
Entrepreneurship at the University of Strathclyde, co-author of the report,
explained: “The West Midlands has a high proportion of migrants and ethnic
minorities, and these groups tend to have higher rates of entrepreneurial
activity anyway. But what is intriguing is that those born and bred in the
Midlands also have high levels of entrepreneurial activity. Its concentration
of highly qualified and aspiring people and great wealth is a winning
combination as far as entrepreneurship is concerned. ”
For further information on the UK GEM research project please contact Mark Hart.
Download a copy of the 2008 UK GEM Report