UK leads Europe’s entrepreneurs

Research has been published showing that the UK is Europe’s most entrepreneurial major economy.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2004 – part-funded by the DTI – places the UK ahead of rivals Germany, France, Italy when it comes to entrepreneurial activity.

It also shows that the gap between male and female entrepreneurs is closing in the UK.

Big increases in female start-up activity have occurred in many of the regions outside of London, particularly the East Midlands, East of England, the North-East, North-West, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Other key findings in the report show that:



  • The UK now has an entrepreneurial rate which is higher than Germany, Japan, Italy and France, but lower than the US and Canada
  • The proportion of people expecting to start a business over the next three years has increased from 7.8 per cent of the population in 2002 to 9.5 per cent in 2004
  • The north-south enterprise divide is narrowing – the gap between the most and least entrepreneurial regions is at its lowest, with three regions, the North-East, East Midlands and Yorkshire & Humberside making significant progress in the past year
  • Women in rural areas are more entrepreneurial than women in urban and suburban areas

The research also shows that ethnic minorities make a large and important contribution to the success of the UK economy.

Entrepreneurial activity among most ethnic minority groups is substantially higher than for white people.

Trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt said: “The report shows that the UK is one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world and is a better place to start and grow a business than ever before.

“This is down to the hard work of the UK’s successful entrepreneurs.

“But we want to do more to help reduce the regulatory burdens on business, and make it easier for small business to access the appropriate support they need.”

The GEM report is the largest survey into entrepreneurial activity in the world. It questioned 25,000 adults across the whole of the UK.

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