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Indonesia and USA 'Most Entrepreneur-Friendly Nations': Global Poll

May 25, 2011

Full Report (PDF)

Indonesia, the USA, Canada, India, and Australia are among the countries with the best cultures in the world for people to start a new business, while Colombia, Egypt, Turkey, Italy and Russia are the least friendly to innovation and entrepreneurship, according to the results of a global 24-country BBC World Service poll released today.

The poll also finds that Americans and Chinese are equally likely to say that their country values creativity and innovation, just behind Indonesians. The GlobeScan poll is featured in a series of special reports on the BBC's international news services, called Extreme World. The series, on TV, radio and online, will study some of the world's most dramatic divides, highlighting the extraordinary disparities in people's lives and lifestyles and this month focuses on the topic of business.

The GlobeScan/PIPA survey of more than 24,000 people asked people to say how hard they felt it was for people like them to start a business in their country, whether their country values creativity and innovation, whether it values entrepreneurs and whether people with good ideas can usually put them into practice. Taking all four questions into account, Indonesia ranked highest as the most entrepreneur-friendly of the countries surveyed, followed closely by the USA.

The poll found that majorities in 23 out of 24 countries polled thought it was hard for people like them to start a business in their country. Brazilians emerge as the most downbeat, with 84 per cent agreeing that this is the case. Germans are the most upbeat, with less than half feeling it is hard to start a business in Germany (48%), and Australians (51%) and Canadians (55%) also relatively positive compared to other nations.

The world's two major economies--USA and China--are also among the most favourable countries for innovation and creativity, the results suggest. In both countries, 75 per cent say that their country values innovation and creativity--second only to Indonesia (85%), and well ahead of other emerging economies such as Brazil (54%) and India (67%). At the other end of the scale, only 24 per cent of Turks and 26 per cent of Russians and Egyptians say they feel that innovation and creativity is valued in their country.

The results are drawn from a survey of 24,537 adult citizens across 24 countries. It was conducted for BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. GlobeScan coordinated fieldwork between June and September 2010. Within-country results are considered accurate within +/- 2.1 to 3.5 per cent 19 times out of 20.

GlobeScan Chairman Doug Miller commented: "The large differences in entrepreneurial culture among emerging economies will likely impact their relative economic performance over time. For example, it will be interesting to see if Indonesia's positive mind-set leads to it outperforming relatively downbeat Brazil."

Participating Countries

In Brazil, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines, and Turkey urban samples were used.


Other Findings

The poll results show that despite the widely held view that starting a business is difficult, on average across all countries polled a slight majority (53%) felt that people with good ideas in their country could usually put them into practice. Indonesians were again among the most positive, with nearly four in five (79%) feeling this way. Once again, least positive were Turks (19%) and Russians (23%).

The survey also asked whether people had had ideas for starting their own business. The results reveal that people in developing countries are much more likely than those in industrialised countries to have had ideas for starting their own business. Nigerians, Kenyans (both 79%), Peruvians (76%), Ecuadorians (73%), and Ghanaians (70%) were most likely to have had an idea for doing so, while Europeans with an idea for starting their own business were in the minority (29% in Germany, 37% in the UK, 38% in Italy, and 42% in France). Russians (27%) were the least likely to have had an idea.

Slightly fewer (49%) across the countries polled said they had had an idea for improving the lives of people in their community. Kenyans (75%), Nigerians (70%), Mexicans (67%) and Peruvians (62%) were the most likely to have had such an idea.

The UK in detail

Britons are more likely than other leading countries to perceive that it is difficult to start a business in their country. Nearly two-thirds (65%) think that it would be hard for them to start their own business, compared to 48 per cent of Germans and 51 per cent of Australians. People in France (64%) and Germany (60%) are more likely than the UK (57%) to believe that innovation and creativity are valued in their country.

However, Britons are more likely than Germans to feel that entrepreneurs are valued in their country--55 per cent of Britons feel this way, compared to 51 per cent of Germans. Both are some way behind the three-quarters of Indonesians and Canadians who think that entrepreneurs are valued in their country. Along with Germans (UK 55%, Germany 56%), Britons are the most likely of the European nations to consider that people with good ideas can put them into practice in their country--although some way behind countries such as Indonesia (79%) and the USA (68%).

In total 24,537 citizens in 24 countries, were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone between June 24 and September 11, 2010. Polling was conducted for BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan and its research partners in each country. In nine of the 24 countries, the sample was limited to major urban areas. The margin of error per country ranges from +/-2.1 to 3.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.


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