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Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Report 2012

5th July 2013 - Richard Bruton TD

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD today (Friday) launched the Global Entrepreneurship Report for Ireland for 2012. The report shows that 19,000 people started new businesses in Ireland in 2012, and highlights the findings that new business start-ups are increasingly innovative and that the majority expect to find customers in export markets (see key findings at the end of the press release). The Report also shows that for the first time the growth aspirations among women entrepreneurs have considerably increased and the gender gap in this area has been almost eliminated.

The GEM report is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Enterprise Ireland and Forfás. The authors of the report are Paula Fitzsimons of Fitzsimons Consulting, who is the National GEM Co-ordinator, and Dr Colm O’Gorman, Professor of Entrepreneurship, DCU Business School.
As GEM research has been carried out in Ireland for nine of the last ten years, the 2012 report contains a ten year perspective. The earlier period (2003 to 2008) was characterised by high levels of entrepreneurial activity, with very many people perceiving opportunities to start new businesses. The overall culture was very supportive and entrepreneurship was considered a good career option.

Mirroring the changes in the economic environment, an overall decline in the rate of early stage entrepreneurial activity, particularly among men, is apparent in the latter period (2010 to 2012 inclusive), as is a rise in the proportion of those starting a new business out of necessity.

However, significant improvements in the overall entrepreneurship ecosystem in Ireland make this an increasingly supportive environment for starting a new business. Advances in access to seed and venture funding, international incubator supports, access to top level mentoring supports, and Enterprise Ireland’s and the City and County Enterprise Boards’ wide range of supports for start-ups, have all contributed to making Ireland a highly attractive location in which to start a new business venture.

Improvements in the degree of perceived innovation and intended internationalisation among those starting new businesses in the more recent period are also very positive and suggest an improvement in the quality of the new enterprises being started. Successful entrepreneurs continue to be held in high regard.

The GEM report indicates that Irish early-stage entrepreneurs have a stronger focus on international markets and exporting than their OCED and EU counterparts. This focus of entrepreneurs on developing innovative products and services for export is essential for growth and economic recovery. The increase in the level of ambition and export focus among women entrepreneurs is also welcome.

Launching the report, Minister Bruton said: “Two thirds of all new jobs are created by start-ups in the first five years of existence. That is why we have placed entrepreneurship at the centre of our plans for jobs and growth. Through the Action Plan for Jobs, we have put in place a series of measures to support greater levels of start-up activity across the economy including a range of new credit measures and world-class supports for small business through the Local Enterprise Offices. Now we are taking advice from world experts and taking views from the public on the next phase of our plan to support more entrepreneurs and start-ups, and ultimately create the jobs we need

“Today’s report is a very welcome analysis of entrepreneurship in Ireland. It provides substantial detail on trends across a range of indicators and will be of immense help as we frame policies in this area. I commend Paula Fitzsimons and Dr Colm O’Gorman on their work”.

Commenting on the report, Chairman of the Government’s new Entrepreneurship Forum Sean O’ Sullivan said: “”Ireland has always been a place full of dreamers and doers and that’s essentially what entrepreneurship is, a blend of the two. As citizens, we must take on the responsibility of creating our own jobs, and figure out how to be more efficient, working at greater speed with higher innovation and reduced cost.

“If we can field world-class rugby players, artists, and scientists, why can’t we also field world-class, fast-growing indigenous businesses? An Ireland that restores economic growth is an Ireland that expands opportunity and quality of life for all its citizens.

“After the battering we’ve endured in recent years, we’ve got a long road ahead of us to return to being #1 in Entrepreneurship in Europe. As Taoiseach Enda Kenny has made it clear, however, Ireland is “open for business”. Our challenge is to seize this opportunity, move quickly and boldly go beyond where we have ever been before.”

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