Report Reveals Australia Is An Entrepreneurial GEM

A new report has shown why entrepreneurship should be a vital  element in any Australian-based business education.

The 2017/18 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report revealed that Australia outperforms most other developed economies on most indicators relating to the quality and economic impact of business start-ups, estimating that estimates that 12.2 percent of adult Australians aged 18-64 were actively engaged in starting or running new businesses in 2017.

This meant that around 1.8 million Australians show entrepreneurial activity, ranking Australia sixth of the 24 developed economies studied – higher than the UK (8.4 percent) and similar to the USA (13.6 percent).

University of Adelaide Professor and GEM lead author Paul Steffens said the GEM study was unique in that it identified entrepreneurs at the very earliest stages of new business creation, providing an opportunity to benchmark against other countries on a wide variety of indicators.

“It usually surprises people when they hear just how entrepreneurial Australia is compared to other countries,” he said.

“We really do appear to punch above our weight when compared to other developed nations and this is good news for job growth. Some 3.4 percent of adults, or 510,000 new businesses, expect to create at least six new jobs in the next five years.”

GEM also measures individuals who lead innovative activity in established businesses and found Australia ranked #7 of 24 developed economies.

ACE QUT Director and Associate Professor Martin Obschonka, added that GEM Australia also revealed that Australia’s profile of start-up activity is particularly strong in the senior age groups and female participation, but comparatively weak in terms of youth entrepreneurship and internationalisation.

“Of the 1.8 million Australians engaged in starting new businesses, 38 percent or 690,000 were women, which ranks us fourth against other countries surveyed.”

But it also found that fear of failure remains higher than many other countries and the younger generation are slower on the uptake.

“However, it’s not all cause to celebrate. Fear of failure and doing business with international markets is a challenge, most likely due to the tyranny of distance, and this can certainly inhibit growth,” Professor Obschonka said.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report is the world’s largest study of entrepreneurship and was developed by the University of Adelaide’s Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre (ECIC) and QUT’s Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research (ACE).

Ben Ready
Ben Ready founded MBA News in 2014 and is the Managing Editor. He is a former business and finance journalist with Australian Associated Press (AAP) and Dow Jones Newswires in London. Ben completed his MBA in 2012 and was awarded the QUT GMAA Entrepreneurship Prize. He is also the founder and Managing Director of RGC Media & Mktng (