International study shows Australia has a strong entrepreneur culture

by Ray Clancy on October 1, 2012

in Money, Business and Finance

Australia has the second highest business start up rate in the world

Australia has the second highest business start up rate in the world and is regarded as a land of opportunity for those wishing to start their own company.

An international study involving 54 countries has found that Australia has higher business start up rates than any other developed country except the United States and Australia’s entrepreneurs are forging a creative, competitive economy.

The research, compiled by the QUT Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research (ACE) in partnership with the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) indicates that last year more than 10% of the Australian adult population was involved in setting up or owning a newly founded business.

ACE and Queensland University of Technology Business School (QUT) Associate Professor Paul Steffens said approximately 1.48 million Australians were currently early stage entrepreneurs.

‘This paints a healthy picture of Australia’s economy, particularly when you consider that four out of five new businesses are starting because their founders identify opportunities and pursue them, and only a small number set up business because of job loss or out of other necessity,’ he explained.

‘In this sense Australia is even outperforming the US at the moment where necessity driven entrepreneurship has soared with fewer alternatives available for employment. Opportunity driven entrepreneurs create jobs, they drive and shape innovation, are catalysts for economic growth and increase national competitiveness,’ he added.

Steffens said Australia had a high proportion of female entrepreneurs, with women accounting for 40% or approximately 590,000 early stage entrepreneurs and this equates to 8.4% of the Australian female adult population.

He pointed out that the study found Australian entrepreneurs were highly innovative with 31% of new business owners indicating they offered products or services they considered to be either new to the market or faced little competition.

He added that the research also indicates that Australians were more confident about their ability to start and run a business than would-be entrepreneurs in most other developed countries.

‘Around 50% of Australian adults believe they can identify opportunities for start ups and 12% of Australians not currently involved in entrepreneurial activity intend to start a new business within the next three years,’ said Steffens.

He believes that Australia has largely recovered from the Global Financial Crisis in terms of early stage entrepreneurial activity, especially in comparison to countries like the US and this was important because entrepreneurs created jobs.

‘Approximately 33% or 580,000 early stage entrepreneurs expect to create five new jobs in the next five years and 11% or 170,000 expect to create 20 or more new jobs over the same timeframe. These jobs will primarily be consumer oriented, such as retail, or in business services as between them these industries comprise 65% of new entrepreneurial activity,’ explained Steffens.

He added that this positive picture of Australian entrepreneurial activity could be put down at least in part to the nation’s strong business and institutional environment.

‘Compared with other innovation-driven economies, Australia scores high in entrepreneurship education, cultural support for entrepreneurship and internal market openness,’ he added.

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