One in every 23 people in Ireland (aged 18-64 years) is a new business owner according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2016 Survey of Entrepreneurship in Ireland which was published today. These figures are similar to the US and high compared to European countries. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) is the world’s foremost study of entrepreneurship.

Enterprise Ireland, supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, sponsored the GEM survey, which was authored by Paula Fitzsimons of Fitzsimons Consulting and Dr Colm O’Gorman, Professor of Entrepreneurship, DCU Business School.

Commenting on the GEM Survey, An Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald TD said: “The GEM 2016 report provides timely research which will help inform our entrepreneurship strategy and in particular, the mid-term review of The National Policy Statement on Entrepreneurship. With 35,000 new business owners in 2016, Ireland ranks 6th highest in Europe for new business owners. I am particularly heartened that the rate of early stage entrepreneurship in Ireland has now returned to the levels observed pre-recession and that many Irish entrepreneurs have growth ambitions and expect to be employers.

“Like most countries, there are more male entrepreneurs (63%) than female (37%), but that gap narrows as one moves from actively planning to actually starting a new business. At 1 in every 14 women in Ireland, the number of female entrepreneurs in 2016 is the highest noted since GEM research started in 2000. Initiatives to encourage female entrepreneurship, like Enterprise Ireland’s dedicated female entrepreneurship unit, are helping to further reduce the gender gap.”

Niall O’Donnellan, Head of Strategy, People and Regions, Enterprise Ireland added: “Ireland is one of seven countries that scores above the European average for both the rate of entrepreneurship (new business owners) and rate of intrapreneurship (employees engaged in entrepreneurship for their employer). The latest GEM survey shows strong global ambition amongst nascent entrepreneurs and new business owners with almost four in five expecting revenues from international customers. In 2007, more than 40% of entrepreneurs were focused exclusively on the Irish market. This figure had dropped back to just 20% by last year demonstrating Irish companies increased willingness and ability to do business and operate internationally. Enterprise Ireland is committed to supporting entrepreneurs and start-ups to grow and expand their reach in overseas markets, helping them to compete on a global scale”.

Download the full report here.

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