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Entrepreneurship in the EU and Beyond

Mark Marich on June 07, 2010 Source: Policy Dialogue on Entrepreneurship

The European Commission’s Directorate-General “Enterprise and Industry” has been studying, for the past 10 years, the development of entrepreneurship in EU Member States, and has compared European opinions with those outside of Europe, especially in the US. Last week, the European Commision published a new Eurobarometer survey on Entrepreneurship that offeres comparisons with many other countries. The 2009 survey covered EU countries, as well as the EEA/EFTA countries (Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland), Croatia, Turkey, the U.S., Japan, South Korea and China.

Based on telephone interviews, the survey findings cover the development of entrepreneurship, how entrepreneurial mindsets are being fuelled, what encourages people to become entrepreneurs, and overall public attitudes on issues such as entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial education, risk-taking, and obstacles to entrepreneurship. The survey report, Entrepreneurship in the EU and beyond - A survey in the EU, EFTA countries, Croatia, Turkey, the US, Japan, South Korea and China, highlights, among many others, the following findings.


  • Marked differences in the reasons for the employee preference: In the EU (but also in Japan and South Korea) the preference for being an employee is mainly motivated by considerations of stability (regular income, stable employment relation) and by the generally agreeable employment conditions (working hours, social protection). In the US all the above reasons are relatively minor whereas in China it is clearly the lack of resources that keeps people in the employee status.
  • Ambivalent attitudes towards entrepreneurs: All over the world people agree that entrepreneurs are job creators and that they develop innovations that benefit the whole society. Yet, the image of entrepreneurs has declined in the past two years. In the EU, 54% believe that entrepreneurs only think about their own wallet and 49% believe that entrepreneurs exploit other people’s work. In 2007, the figures were clearly lower (45% and 42%). However, the status of entrepreneurs varies greatly between different countries. In the Scandinavian countries it is very positive (e.g. 83% of Danes and 78% of Finns had a favorable opinion about entrepreneurs) whereas in Eastern Europe the entrepreneurs' reputation is generally lower (only 26% of Hungarians and 33% of Poles have a favorable opinion about them).
  • Entrepreneurial attitudes in Asia: Chinese people have the strongest preference for self-employment (71%), Japanese people the weakest (39%). Similarly, Chinese think it is quite possible to become one’s own boss (49%). In Japan only 12% consider this career option possible.
  • Perceived barriers in the EU: Roughly 8 in 10 EU citizens agreed that it was difficult to start up a business due to a lack of available financial support. A large majority of respondents (71%) also agreed that business start-ups were difficult due to complex administrative procedures.


For more findings, visit the EC Eurobameter site.

Category:  General 

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