Recently the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor launched its 2012 data. Speaking at the launch the minister for jobs stated
” 19,000 people started new businesses in Ireland in 2012, and highlights the findings that new business start ups are increasingly innovative and that the majority expect to find customers in export markets”.
Further, Enterprise Ireland the government domestic focused entrep agency stated that the minister noted
“Two thirds of all new jobs are created by start-ups in the first five years of existence. That is why we have placed entrepreneurship at the centre of our plans for jobs and growth. Through the Action Plan for Jobs, we have put in place a series of measures to support greater levels of start-up activity across the economy including a range of new credit measures and world-class supports for small business through the Local Enterprise Offices. Now we are taking advice from world experts and taking views from the public on the next phase of our plan to support more entrepreneurs and start-ups, and ultimately create the jobs we need”
All good yes? Well, lets see. People start new businesses for one of two reasons : they want to or they have to. Want is good. Have, less so. See the two charts below on the % of those starting businesses because they have to. We can call those the “There Is No Alternative to Entrepeneurship”- TINAEs
the first looks at the UK USA and Germany vs this fair land. Note that in two cases, 2007 Germany and 2009 Ireland the data were not available and to avoid gaps in the series I interprolated by average. Note especially Germany where there is a noticable rise in the percentage of those involved in setting up businesses as a TINAE after the 2001-3 wave of Hartz reforms, reforms the Irish Government is now eyeing as exemplars.
But maybe this is not a problem? Maybe in reality its the big countries that are outliers, and smaller/poorer states such as we are becoming are better benchmarks. Lets see. The chart below shows this data averaged across the last three survey periods (2012-11-10) for all countries which participate. The median rate of TINAE is 26%. Ireland is at 29%. The only other EU states above Ireland are Romania, Slovakia and Croatia.
Bottom line : Entrepreneurship is good. But not, I submit, if its forced. And we seem to be increasingly forcing this. Entrepreneurs are not rhubarb stalks to be forced by being fed bull. They should be organic and emergent and carefully nurtured.