UK beats US in global entrepreneurship index

The Ashish J Thakkar Global Entrepreneurship Index of 85 countries ranks the UK as the fifth best environment for entrepreneurs, beating the United States and most of the EU. The world's top country for entrepreneurship is Singapore, however.

A global study into the state of entrepreneurship places the UK as the fifth most conducive environment, leagues ahead of the United States and many other prominent EU countries. Despite currency and confidence-related volatility in recent months, the UK still remains one of the easiest countries in which to start-up.

The Ashish J Thakkar Global Entrepreneurship Index, developed by Mara Foundation and Opinium Researchmeasured 85 entrepreneurial environments around the world against a set of criteria that spans policy, infrastructure, education, entrepreneurial environment and finance.

The UK is recognised for providing a supportive financial culture for entrepreneurs, and for its attractiveness to investors in venture capital and private equity. In this regard, only the United States overtakes the UK, owing to its decades-long venture capital legacy.

The UK also ranks highly for its policy framework to encourage entrepreneurship, and a lack of perceived risk stemming from its high credit rating and the economic freedoms afforded by its open approach to capitalism.

The only area the UK scores poorly in is its overall entrepreneurial environment with one of the lowest scores of any of the top 10 countries. The report discovered that the UK has a low ‘attitudes’ score, which specifically relates to the lack of interest and appetite of the average citizen to start their own business.

The UK in a snapshot

UK chart - global entrepreneurship
The Ashish J Thakkar Global Entrepreneurship Index 2016 is the brainchild of the eponymous serial entrepreneur, who started his first business at the age of 15.  Thakkar went on to found Mara Group and Mara Foundation as a support system for entrepreneurialism. “Through the work of Mara Group over the past 20 years, I have come to recognise the immense contribution that entrepreneurs make to economies and societies around the world – particularly in relation to job creation,” he said.According to Rona Kotecha, executive director of Mara Foundation, the point of the index is to provide entrepreneurs and policymakers with insight into various elements that impact entrepreneurship globally. “The index and its 20 policy recommendations are designed to provide a starting point for changes that can be implemented to create more effective entrepreneurial environments. This, in turn, will lead to job creation and a positive impact on economies around the world.”

“In recent years, however, it has become more and more apparent that governments and the private sector are simply not doing enough to support entrepreneurs in their endeavours. With the creation of this Index, we hope to provide some solid policy recommendations that will help guide discussions and improve entrepreneurial environments globally.”

Top 10 countries by overall index score

  1. Singapore
  2. New Zealand
  3. Denmark
  4. Canada
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Norway
  7. Ireland
  8. Finland
  9. Switzerland
  10. Sweden

While much of Western Europe ranks highly overall in the index, Greece and Spain rank relatively low, at 34th and 50th place. Both nations are continuing to reel from the after-effects of the financial crisis. The scope for entrepreneurial opportunities in these nations have been low as a result.

“The Index indicates that on the global stage, the United Kingdom is one of the most open and nurturing environments for entrepreneurs to build their own business,”James Endersby, Managing Director, Opinium said. “While fifth place is a significant and admirable position in the overall ranking, the lack of entrepreneurial spirit that it indicates in the average citizen is concerning. More must be done to encourage people to take hold of the opportunities available to them, particularly if we want to continue to nurture our economic position in a post-Brexit environment.”


Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.