Entrepreneurs under the spotlight
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(CNN) -- If you have ever dreamed of quitting your job to start your own business then you are not alone.
Entrepreneurs like Virgin Group founder Richard Branson or Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who created the EasyGroup empire, are the celebrities of the business world, promoting a glamorous ideal of life as your own boss.
But one in 11 of us have entrepreneurial instincts, according to the latest survey by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) and 73 million around the globe are either nascent entrepreneurs or own or manage a young business.
The GEM report is the largest ever measure of entrepreneurial activity worldwide, studying a workforce of 784 million people in 34 countries.
It shows a complex relationship between levels of entrepreneurship in a country and its economic strength.
On the one hand, entrepreneurs stimulate economic growth, by using innovative methods and launching imaginative ventures. But economic growth is also necessary in the creation of a business environment in which self-starters can flourish.
According to the report, low-income countries had the highest proportion of entrepreneurs among their workforce, with Peru topping the list with 40.3 percent, followed by Uganda (31.6 percent) and Ecuador (27.2 percent).
But some countries with a very high Gross Domestic Product also had higher than average levels, with 13.6 percent of Iceland's workforce having started a business, and 11.3 percent in the U.S.
European Union countries (5.3 percent) fell well below the global average of 9.3 percent, with Belgium, Italy, Sweden and Finland having the lowest levels of entrepreneurial activity. But Japan came bottom of the list, with just 1.5 percent of entrepreneurs among a total workforce of 66 million.
In wealthier countries entrepreneurs tend to be motivated by business opportunity, while people tend to become entrepreneurs out of necessity in lower income countries, the report said.
Entrepreneurs in low-income countries were also unlikely to have completed secondary education, but education tended to be positively related to business start-ups in high-income countries.
In all countries, the people most commonly drawn to starting a business were young and male. Entrepreneurial activity is most common in the 25 to 34 age group, falling away into middle age. And almost twice as many men as women were involved in business start-ups, regardless of differences in national income.
The report also showed that most business start-ups were self-financed, or dependent on funding from family and friends.
Just 0.01 percent of new companies relied on venture capital or business investments, and even in the U.S. -- which has more than two-thirds of the total venture capital in the entire world -- only 12 percent of the country's 500 fastest growing companies had received any form of financing.
Michael Hay, Deputy Dean and Secretary of the London Business School and Co-Director of the GEM Global Project said the report showed that entrepreneurship was just as important to developing countries as developed ones.
"This year's report has developed an even better understanding of the place of entrepreneurship in driving the performance of countries across the world," he said.
"Given the current focus on rebuilding and regenerating the tsunami-struck nations and many African nations, we cannot afford to ignore the role of entrepreneurship in driving inclusive economic development for all."