Posted on February 08, 2015

High levels of entrepreneurial optimism, ambition and innovation are vital to advancing economies, according to The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2014 Global Report – an annual survey of entrepreneurial activities, intentions, and attitudes across 73 countries. Data from Qatar was included for the very first time this year. African economies showed the highest ability to perceive and pursue entrepreneurial opportunities with little fear of failure.  In contrast, European Union nations are less optimistic, see fewer opportunities and are more uncertain about their skills in acting entrepreneurially.

“Ambitious entrepreneurship has a powerful impact on economic development through job creation and its incentive to innovate and build international marketplaces,” said Slavica Singer, GEM’s lead author from J.J. Strossmayer University, Osijek, Croatia. The GEM report’s special topic, Youth and Entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa, also found that Africa’s boom in youth entrepreneurship is expanding globally.  GEM’s full special topic report will be available this April. 

Qatar Joins the GEM Project

Silatech, a leading regional social initiative, collaborated with Qatar University’s Social & Economic Survey Research Institute (SESRI) to produce Qatar’s first-ever GEM data set. With this new information, researchers can directly compare the entrepreneurial landscape in Qatar to the 72 other participating economies, including other Arab nations. Silatech has supported the GEM study in other Arab countries including Libya, Tunisia, and Egypt.

Qatar immediately stands out as the developed country with the highest level of entrepreneurial intentions, as 50.4% of adults say they plan to start a new business within the next three years. The global GEM report also finds that 16.4 % of adults in Qatar are engaged in “total early-stage entrepreneurial activity” (TEA), meaning they are in the process of starting a venture or running a business for fewer than 3.5 years. This too is the highest rate amongst developed economies.

However, only 3.5% of adults in Qatar actually own and manage an established business (in operation for more than 3.5 years). This is far below any regional average rate of established business ownership, suggesting that high entrepreneurial intentions and early-stage activity do not necessarily translate into long-term business success. Further analysis is necessary to determine what stumbling blocks are limiting business growth and survival in Qatar.  

In 2014, more than 200,000 individuals were surveyed and 3,936 national experts on entrepreneurship participated in the GEM study across 73 economies − collectively representing 72.4% of the world’s population and 90% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The report analyzes entrepreneurs from all global regions of the world and a broad range of economic development levels.