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US Women Top New Entrepreneurship Index

Mark Marich

Female entrepreneurs in the United States benefit from more than just their own personal strengths and aspirations—they also benefit from an environment that is more open to women-led startups than any other country in the world. A new index released last month in Turkey at the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network conference compared 17 countries across 30 indicators that foster high-potential entrepreneurship. For those hoping for a silver bullet issue to focus policy efforts, there isn’t one.

The Gender GEDI (Global Entrepreneurship Development Index) pairs indicators into 15 pillars—such as startup skills, cultural support, competition and product innovation—that explore each country’s entrepreneurial environment, ecosystem and aspirations of its nascent founders.

The top performing countries scored consistently well across a wide range of indices without a single tell-tale indicator emerging. Following the U.S. (#1) and Australia (#2), countries with early promising indicators were offset by other factors. For example, India (#16) scored relatively high for ‘opportunity recognition,’ suggesting that the female population recognizes good opportunities for businesses where they live, but received low scores relating to ‘institutional foundations,’ indicating that the women’s ability to act on those perceived opportunities is limited.

The countries listed on the index are (in rank order): United States; Australia; Germany; France; Mexico; United Kingdom; South Africa;

China; Malaysia; Russia; Turkey; Japan; Morocco; Brazil; Egypt; India; and Uganda.

Other key findings include:

  • Filling the female startup education gap is an important area for improvement for many countries.
  • Economic development alone is not enough to foster high-potential female entrepreneurs.
  • Business formalization is important for successful, scalable enterprises – especially with respect to improving access to capital.
  • Business freedom (meaning removing legal and regulatory impediments to growth) is a necessary condition for a vibrant entrepreneurial economy.
  • Social norms are a frequently-hidden barrier: lifting the cultural veil that can restrict a woman’s entrepreneurial vision is critical to unleashing female entrepreneurial potential.

Additional information on each of these findings is available in the Gender GEDI Executive Report.

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