Figures released at
the launch of the 2008 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) UK survey today at
Aston Business School, Birmingham, suggest there was no evidence of any change
in entrepreneurial attitudes or activity in the UK as a whole in 2008, other
than a sharp decline in opportunity perception.
The proportion of
people who agreed that there are good opportunities for business start-ups
within the next 6 months dropped by almost a quarter between 2007 and 2008. The
decline in opportunity perception (35% - 27%) of working age adults, was the
fourth largest drop among participating high income countries, after Iceland, Ireland
On the other hand, UK
residents appeared to maintain start-up expectation rates, and skills
perception remained steady. Professor Mark Hart of Aston Business School,
co-author of the report, commented: “Starting a business requires some
commitment, and the start-up entrepreneurs in our sample were probably committed
to starting before the downturn in general sentiment hit in late 2008”.
The report, which drew on identical surveys
in 43 countries, established that around 5.5% of working age individuals in the
in 2008 were actively trying to start a business or running a new business.
This is the same rate as the previous year and around the average for G7
countries. On the other hand, 7% of people in the UK expected to start a business in
the next three years. This is below the G7 average, and around the same as in Germany (6%) or Japan
(8%) but lower than in the US
(12%). By contrast in India
around one third of the adult population expects to start a new business in the
next three years.
The GEM 2008 survey of 32,000 UK adults
was conducted during May to September 2008, before the turmoil in the
international banking industry. Dr Jonathan Levie of the Hunter Centre for
Entrepreneurship at the University of Strathclyde, co-author of the report, said: “Opportunity
perception has taken a knock, but fear of failure does not seem to have
increased in the UK as much
as in other high income countries, possibly in part because of changes in UK company law
in recent years. The recent surge in unemployment means that highly qualified
individuals may be considering self-employment who would otherwise not have
given it a second thought. We may well see a release of entrepreneurial
potential as a result of this crisis.”
For further information on the UK GEM research project please contact Mark Hart.