SME World Forum

The Evolution of Entrepreneurship Over Time

Monday, May 4, 2020

In what three ways is entrepreneurship increasing over time?

A major strength of GEM research has been its consistency: by asking the same specific questions within the same carefully designed methodological framework over the past 20 years, responses can be compared. This allows the evolution of entrepreneurship over these two decades to be traced. GEM defines entrepreneurship clearly and unambiguously, as set out in Chapter 3: the entrepreneur is the individual who is starting or running a new business. So has global entrepreneurship been increasing or decreasing over time? As for any good question, the answer is not straightforward.

This chapter addresses the question of whether entrepreneurship is increasing over time in three ways. The first, and most obvious, is to focus on only those economies that have participated in GEM every year since 2001, two years after the programme was launched and when regular indices such as Total early-stage Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) and Established Business Ownership (EBO) had been developed. There are five economies in this category, and the answer to whether entrepreneurship has been increasing in these economies is revealed below. Yet five economies — however important or large — represent but a small fraction of the global economy, so no attempt will be made to generalize beyond these specific experiences. (Read more…).

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