Is there a “right” way to measure entrepreneurship?
Updated: May 21
For many people, having your own business and having the ability to work your own hours is an appealing thought, whatever your age. No matter that you are likely to work longer and harder than in a conventional 9-5 job.
One of the facts that may put you off embarking on your entrepreneurial journey, is that most of the images of entrepreneurs are of younger people, most of whom are likely to be under 50. Yet 50-plus entrepreneurs are among the most successful, as we learnt in the previous blog, where it was found that in the US in 2018 a mean age of 45, among the 1,700 founders of the fastest-growing new ventures in the US, were the most successful.
So how should entrepreneurial success be measured? Should it be by revenue, profit, income and costs or, if the venture, is a social enterprise, by the ability to change society or societies?
Entrepreneurial enterprises are important for creating innovation within society, especially for a society that is knowledge based. Such innovation can make goods and services cheaper and entrepreneurs can also provide employment for others.
As the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index (GEDI) states: “Enterprise is a crucial engine of economic growth. Without enterprise and entrepreneurs, there would be little innovation, little productivity growth, and few new jobs.”[i]
Hence, it is important to measure entrepreneurship. The GEDI methodology collects data on the entrepreneurial attitudes, abilities and aspirations of the local population and then weights these against the prevailing social and economic “infrastructure” – this includes aspects such as broadband connectivity and the transport links to external markets. This process creates 14 pillars which GEDI uses to measure the health of the regional ecosystem.
According to this ranking, the US is the number one place to be an entrepreneur, followed by Switzerland, Canada is number three and at number four is the United Kingdom.
The ease of doing business index paints a different picture. According to the World Bank rankings, in which 190 countries were compared, New Zealand was ranked number one, followed by, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Denmark. The United States was ranked number six while the United Kingdom was ranked number eight. This index measures, among other things, opening a business, finding a location, accessing finance, dealing with day to day operations, and operating in a secure business environment.
Worldwide, 115 economies made it easier to do business, according to the latest World Bank report. The report looks at regulation that makes doing business easier and makes a company more efficient. The economies with the most notable improvement in Doing Business2020 are Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Togo, Bahrain, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, China, India, and Nigeria. Only two African economies rank in the top 50 on the ease of doing business; no Latin American economies rank in this group.
What the report notes is that economies that score highest on the ease of doing business share several common features, including the widespread use of electronic systems.
What we see from all this research is that different economies measure the success of entrepreneurs differently. What is considered successful in one country, may not always be deemed successful in another.
From looking at the research, I also learned that a number of initiatives are launched each year in different societies to encourage entrepreneurship.
Photo: by Carole Railton (copyright) Social enterprises measure change by their impact on society