Business management

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor: new report out now

Research by the latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) suggests entrepreneurs are bouncing back after the pandemic. However, it also suggests major support is still needed.

In Northern Ireland, early-stage entrepreneurship rates rose from a low of 5.4% during the pandemic in 2020 to 9.1% in 2021.

Looking at how entrepreneur numbers have changed among different segments of the population, the report also found that:

  • Nearly half of the non-entrepreneurial working age population in Northern Ireland and the UK perceive good start-up opportunities locally in 2021. This figure was less than a third in 2020.
  • Just over 20% of non-entrepreneurial working-age adults in Northern Ireland say they expect to start a business within the next three years.
  • 56.6% of non-entrepreneurial people of working age in Northern Ireland who agree there are good start-up opportunities say they feel afraid of failure. This figure was 61.4% in 2020.

The research, based on a sample of just over 10,000 individuals, found almost one in three working age individuals across the UK are either engaged in entrepreneurial activity or intend to start a business within the next three years. However, the report also says experts agree that support of women entrepreneurs is “insufficient” in Northern Ireland.

It’s critical that the UK has a thriving ecosystem to support this boom in entrepreneurship, which is central to economic stability and growth

Andrew Harrison
Managing Director, Business Banking

What now for entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland?

Mark Hart, Deputy Director of the UK’s Enterprise Research Centre and Professor of Small Business and Entrepreneurship at Aston Business School, says: “In 2020, we saw a collapse of early-stage entrepreneurial activity as many decided to delay their move into setting up their own business in the face of the most severe economic downturn in 300 years – but within 12 months it has bounced back.

“The GEM survey, undertaken in the middle of 2021, showed a sharp rise in the number of individuals in the early stages of setting up a new business compared to even the pre-pandemic high in 2019. It is now at the highest level since the annual survey began in 1999 and is an indicator of the entrepreneurial resilience of the UK.”

As economic headwinds gather, however, Andrew Harrison, our Managing Director of Business Banking, is keen to point out that that the UK’s entrepreneurs need further support.

He adds: “The resilience of small businesses over recent years is both inspiring and important. As the economy faces significant turbulence in the year ahead, it’s critical that the UK has a thriving ecosystem to support this boom in entrepreneurship, which is central to economic stability and growth.

“As the UK’s biggest bank for business, we are determined to play our part in helping the future business success stories start, scale and thrive.”

The full 2021 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report

Northern Ireland Report (PDF, 4,438KB)

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