Now into its 17th year, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor project (GEM) is the largest study of entrepreneurial dynamics in the world, benchmarking entrepreneurship activity, attitudes and aspirations of over 80 countries annually.
GEM explores the role of entrepreneurship in national economic growth through an annual assessment of entrepreneurial climate and national levels of entrepreneurial activity (of different forms) through large population surveys and expert interviews. Systematic differences continue, with few highly entrepreneurial countries reflecting low economic growth. The study provides a wealth of national features and characteristics associated with entrepreneurial activity. Through the accumulation of years and countries this creates a unique data base for scholarly research.
The Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research (ACE) participated as the Australian representative for GEM in 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2015, producing the GEM Australia 2014 National Report.
Approach and objectives
GEM takes a holistic approach to the study of entrepreneurship. The project’s three main objectives are to:
- measure differences in the level of early stage entrepreneurial activity between countries
- uncover factors determining the levels of entrepreneurial activity
- identify policies that may enhance the level of entrepreneurial activity.
GEM’s unique ability to provide information on the entrepreneurial landscape of countries in a global context makes its data a necessary resource for any serious attempt to study and track entrepreneurial behaviour worldwide.
Every year each national team is responsible for conducting a survey of at least 2,000 people within its adult population. The Adult Population Survey is a survey of attitudes towards entrepreneurship in the general population but it also asks people whether or not they are engaged in start-up activity or own or run a business. The individual national team surveys are all collected in exactly the same way and at exactly the same time of year to ensure the quality of the data. The surveys are harmonised into one master dataset that allows users to investigate entrepreneurial activity at various stages of the entrepreneurial process, as well as to study a variety of factors characterising both entrepreneurs and their businesses in each participating nation and across countries.
Entrepreneurship is a complex phenomenon and can be found in a variety of settings and situations. Thus, no single measurement, no matter how precise, can capture the entrepreneurial landscape of a country. As a result, GEM provides a comprehensive set of measurements aimed at describing several aspects of the entrepreneurial make-up of a country.
Total entrepreneurial activity (TEA)
The most widely used measure from GEM is total entrepreneurial activity (TEA). This includes individuals in the process of starting a business (nascent entrepreneurs) plus owner-managers of young firms up to three years old.
Established business owners
Established business owners are entrepreneurs who have paid salaries and wages for more than 42 months. Their businesses have survived the most risky stage of the entrepreneurial process and much can be learned from comparing early-stage and established business owners.
Entrepreneurs are classified as being either necessity-driven or opportunity-driven. In addition, GEM documents the characteristics of all entrepreneurs with respect to product novelty, intensity of competition, employment and expansion plans, and use of technology.
GEM looks at the socioeconomic characteristics of populations, as well as their subjective perceptions and expectations about the entrepreneurial environment. Some countries include questions in their survey to enable them to analyse family-based entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurship. These are areas that we are seeking to develop internationally.