THE BLOG

UK Is Gaining Ground in the Global Entrepreneurship Race

20/11/2014 13:14 GMT | Updated 19/01/2015 10:59 GMT

A little while ago reports of the UK's entrepreneurial efforts in the face of start-up giants like the US, were, well, a little mediocre. It was rather like reading an end of year report which said 'must try harder'.

Today the latest figures announced by the Global Entrepreneurship Index (GEI) tell an altogether different story. We're a whisker away from an A* for effort.

We've climbed five places to reach number four in the world, only beaten by more mature and established entrepreneurial ecosystems - the US, Canada and Australia.

The UK's ranking has improved steadily over the past three years. In 2012 the UK ranked 14th and in 2013 it ranked ninth. This year's ranking is the UK's highest position in the history of the index.

That's great news and what we've been working towards at Enterprise Nation and the national enterprise campaign I co-founded, StartUp Britain.

This league table promotion is corroborated by StartUp Britain's own tracker which points to the fact that 2014 is set to be yet another record-breaking year in company registrations. Last year this figure hit the half a million mark for the first time in early December - this year it hit this milestone in early November - and counting.

In 2011, the final figure for the year for UK company registrations was 440,600, in 2012 it was 484,224 and in 2013 it was 526,446. Yesterday the total was already 519,582.

It also chimes with a report out yesterday from the ONS which showed that self-employment had hit a 40 year high at 15 per cent.

But it's not the complete picture.

The 2015 report states the improvement in the UK's ranking is due to progress in entrepreneurial attitudes and abilities. However, it adds 'entrepreneurial aspirations - a measure of how innovative, risk-taking and internationally oriented UK entrepreneurial ventures are - remains a relative weak spot compared to other leading countries.'

It showed that the UK ranked higher than the US, Australia and Canada in entrepreneurial networking. But that, gaining access to people who can provide mentoring support, financial resources and learning is better in these countries than in the UK.

The researchers found that the overall UK performance in entrepreneurship is world class. However, the different elements making up entrepreneurship in the UK - such as ability, attitudes and ambition - are not as well balanced as in the leading entrepreneurial economies such as the US and Australia.

The US has a well-developed advice culture, one of the first things start-ups do is access life-changing advice which can help them understand and avoid some of the challenges they might face.

We're making in-roads, Growth Vouchers and Start Up Loans are helping thousands to access funds and advice. But we've got a way to go until this element of entrepreneurship seeps into the great British consciousness.

So it's not an A* for attainment yet. But I'm confident the UK will hit the top spot.