Global Entrepreneurship 2015: Ireland in 12th rank in Europe, 17th in world for business startups
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
Nov 23, 2014 - 6:02 AM

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Global Entrepreneurship 2015: Ireland has got a 12th rank in Europe and 17th place in the world for business startups according to a report and global index, which was published this week. Meanwhile the UK has been ranked as the best location of 22 countries in Europe for starting a business and 4th in the world among 130 countries with the US, Canada and Australia in the lead.

The 2015 edition of the Global Entrepreneurship Index (GEI)—which measures the quality and scale of small-business startup activity—was released to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week and the Global Entrepreneurship Network together with the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute (GEDI Institute) partnered on the research of the index—access the 10mb pdf report here after input of name and e-mail address.

Countries are ranked on 14 "pillars," from the level of startup support available to the effects of industry competition and the availability of trained staff.

Anglo-Saxon, Nordic, and Western European countries in the innovation-driven stage of development are in the front ranks. The United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom lead the rankings. The big surprise is the UK’s ranking in 4th place. Two of the five Nordic countries, Denmark and Sweden, are in the top ten, and Iceland and Finland are 11th and 14th, respectively—still a good performance. Taiwan, the highest ranked Asian country, is in 8th place, and Singapore is 10th. The Netherlands at 13th it is still among the most entrepreneurial nations of the world and Switzerland is also a surprise ranking in 5th place.

Besides their high entrepreneurial performance, these countries also represent high levels of income.

Vince Cable, UK business secretary, said: "From building cutting-edge robots to designing satellites, British entrepreneurs succeed through combining innovation with strong business acumen.

"That is why despite tough economic times, we have jumped 10 places in just two years to be the number one enterprising nation in Europe. Our industrial strategy will continue this legacy by providing an environment where businesses can innovate and have confidence to invest in new ideas for long-term growth."

There was no comment from Richard Bruton, Irish enterprise minister, which means that the news wasn't viewed as good.

According to the Irish Venture Capital Association (IVCA) €314m was raised by Irish tech firms in the first nine months of 2014—up from €233m in the same period in 2013—but funding of startups fell to 5% compared with an early-stage funding ratio of 21% in 2013.

Erkki Audio is professor of technology venturing at Imperial College Business School, London, and an author of the GEI report says that there are many beliefs about what an ‘entrepreneurial culture’ looks like—but surprisingly few research-based facts. The most widely cited belief concerns individualism: individualist countries are thought to be more entrepreneurial than ‘collectivist’ countries. "But, due to lack of data and inappropriate research designs (which we will not go into here), there is little data to back up this belief. So, the question remains: how does national culture impact entrepreneurship?"

First, there is no one ‘best’ entrepreneurial culture. All cultures have their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to unlocking entrepreneurship. The secret is knowing what to do in different cultures.

Second, individualist countries should not be complacent. Yes, they do have more entrepreneurs. But they are challenged to nudge their entrepreneurs to take more risks and pursue growth. Here, a little bit of societal risk sharing might help enhance the entrepreneurial dynamic.

Third, collectivist societies are not bad for entrepreneurship. In highly collectivist countries such as Japan or Sweden, if you get more people to start new businesses, the societal infrastructure and cultural norms will push these to seek growth. The challenge, then, is getting more people to try entrepreneurship. Promoting inspiring role models could therefore prove effective in such societies.

Any culture can nurture entrepreneurship. You just need to know what to do in your culture."

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