The annual survey polled 140,000 adults ages 18 to 64 from 54 different economies. GEM estimates that 400 million are active entrepreneurs around the world, 165 million are young early-stage entrepreneurs (18 to 35 years old), 65 million entrepreneurs plan on creating 20 or more jobs in the next five years, and 69 million offer innovative products or services that are new to the market.
"In an economy, you want to have some elements of stability, where firms maintain their businesses, despite facing ups and downs in their industry, their businesses or in the economy over time," Donna Kelley, Babson College professor and the study's author, explained. "At the same time, there needs to be some dynamism, where new ideas and new firms sprout up and replace in part those that have run their course."
One of the most significant findings in the GEM survey was the steady increase of total entrepreneurial activity (TEA) across all the different economic levels despite a worldwide economic struggle over the past few years. Countries in the efficiency-driven category saw an average increase of 25 percent. Many of these economies, including China, Argentina and Chile, already had high rates of entrepreneurial activity and saw further increases in 2011. Of the 20 innovation-driven economies, there was an average 22 percent increase in activity, driven mostly by a big jump in nascent entrepreneurship, which saw almost 36 percent more startups. Kelley noted that "the talk of job loss and jobs not coming back from the recession may not be painting a complete picture. Our GEM results provide some indication that startup activity may be a missing part in these reports."
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