What’s the best country in the world to be an entrepreneur? 

The answer may surprise you. When it came to the Top 50 countries ranked for entrepreneurship, the UK was only middling.

The best country for entrepreneurs has been revealed based on metrics including access to finance, education and infrastructure.

The annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) research, led by Aston Business School, ranked the United Arab Emirates as the best country to be an entrepreneur, followed by Saudi Arabia and Taiwan.

The UK ranked at 25 on a list of 51, falling from 18 last year and 14 in 2020. Its ranking was hampered by disappointing scores on entrepreneurial education at school, government policy support and access to finance. There were no metrics where it scored higher than average.

The United States, Germany and France all ranked higher than the UK, coming in at 15, 17 and 18 respectively.

The highest ranked European country was The Netherlands for the second time in a row, thanks particularly to entrepreneurial finance.

The UAE topped the list as the best country for entrepreneurs for the second year running, though, scoring above average on every metric. It scored particularly highly on social and cultural norms, physical infrastructure, and government policy support. It also scored way above average on entrepreneurial education at school.

Its climb to the top doesn’t come as a surprise, however. The UAE has been on a mission to improve its national entrepreneurial context index (NECI) score since 2019, successfully doing so every year and breaking two NECI records in the process.

High levels of investment and government commitment have been cited as the main drivers in forming the entrepreneurial environment.

It may be a similar story next year, with most UAE entrepreneurs optimistic for the year ahead. Almost 20 per cent of those interviewed said they were expecting to employ six or more people in five years’ time. Seventy-seven per cent said it is easy to start a business in the country.

The full list of 51 countries and their index scores are listed below.

United Arab Emirates 7.2
Saudi Arabia 6.3
Taiwan 6.2
India 6.1
Netherlands 5.9
Indonesia 5.8
Switzerland 5.8
Qatar 5.7
Republic of Korea 5.7
China (PRC) 5.6
Israel 5.5
Norway 5.2
United States 5.2
Canada 5.1
France 5.1
Germany 5.1
Japan 5
Luxembourg 5
Sweden 5
Slovenia 4.8
Hungary 4.7
United Kingdom 4.7
Serbia 4.6
Chile 4.5
Colombia 4.5
Uruguay 4.5
Slovak Republic 4.4
Morocco 4.3
Panama 4.3
Italy 4.2
Oman 4.2
Romania 4.2
Croatia 4.1
South Africa 4.1
Spain 4
Guatemala 3.8
Mexico 3.8
Poland 3.8
Puerto Rico 3.8
Brazil 3.6
Iran 3.6
Togo 3.6
Venezuela 3.2

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Dom Walbanke

Dom Walbanke

Dom is a feature writer for Growth Business and Small Business, focused on matters concerning start-ups and scale-ups. He has also been published in the Independent, FourFourTwo magazine and various lifestyle...