Unhidden GEM

This week we helped launch the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), which is led by Aston Business School's Professor Mark Hart and supported by NatWest.

The GEM is kind of a big deal in the world of entrepreneurship research. It tracks the rates of entrepreneurship across multiple phases in 49 economies, making it the world’s most authoritative comparative study of entrepreneurial activity in the general adult population.

I won't try to summarise the UK's full 88-page report, but here are two things that I found interesting.

Not so great expectations
We are a nation of entrepreneurs. One-fifth of working age individuals in the UK either intended to start a business within the next three years; were actively trying to start a business; or were running their own business. This has more or less been the case since 2011, and represents an increase on the previous long-run rate of around 1 in 6.

Early-stage entrepreneurial activity – the nascent entrepreneurship rate and
the new business owner-manager rate – also looks to be on trend (7.8%). Before the great recession the trend was more like 6%, so it's fair to say that over time we have become a more entrepreneurial country. However, this increase is largely in low expectation entrepreneurial activity, Just 1 in 6 UK early-stage entrepreneurs having high job expectations, which is lower than its comparator countries: US, France and Germany at 1 in 4.

A good gig
Gig economy workers are more entrepreneurial than many assume. In the UK, 4.3% of the population participate in the gig economy, but one
in 10 entrepreneurs are a gig economy worker – cutting across nascent entrepreneurs, through to new business owner and even established entrepreneurs.

As is concluded in the report "The gig economy seems to be an attractive way of working for those intending to start a business or who are in the early stages, with one in five future entrepreneurs working this way and one in ten nascent entrepreneurs. Given the flexibility inherent with this type of work it would seem ideal for those individuals who wish to spend time getting their business off the ground and earn a wage at the same time. The latter point is particularly important for those early-stage entrepreneurs who may not yet have a steady monthly income arising from their business venture."

Sukhpal of the UK
This week I interviewed Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia for my Forbes column. Sukhpal supported Job Creators – our recentImmigrant Founders report. Sukhpal's story is compelling: "I came to the UK when I was 13 with my parents and two brothers, fleeing the murderous regime of Idi Amin in Uganda. We left very quickly and we left everything behind, including the business that my family had worked so hard to build up. We arrived in the UK with literally just the clothes on our backs and ended up living in a refugee camp. That experience was formative for me."Read the whole thing here.

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