USA and Australia topped the recent Global Entrepreneurial and Development Index, whereas the UK only came only 14th. The Financial Times’ Jonathan Moules commented with surprise that the UK had even come below Austria and Belgium!
On a positive note, the UK was among the best in the world for the number of start-ups it creates (– particularly technology companies); the quality of the founding teams; and the capacity to launch new products without any peers.
However the UK has arguably been more significantly affected by the financial crisis than other nations, and as a result British businesses lack early-stage investment. In the ranking for the number of individuals who have invested informally in other people’s start-ups in the past three years, the UK falls into the bottom quarter of OECD nations.
In addition, research suggests that in cultural terms, the British do not perceive entrepreneurship as a good career choice. Erkko Autio (Professor in Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship at Imperial College) said the UK could significantly improve its position if measures introduced to encourage early-stage investment resulted in more investors committing capital. “The one thing we are pretty sure about is that it is not [a problem of] over-regulation,” he added. “It is more about the [need to change] cultural and social norms.”