Entrepreneurs face global challenges

Jewellery fair in Jakarta Indonesia was one of many developing economies that came out as pro-entrepreneur

Indonesia is the best place for entrepreneurs to start a business, a BBC survey has suggested.

The US, Canada, India and Australia are seen as among the next best countries at supporting new businesses.

At the other extreme, Colombia, Egypt, Turkey, Italy and Russia are among the least entrepreneur-friendly.

The survey for the BBC's Extreme World series found wide variations in perceptions of the support different cultures offer to start-ups.

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Extreme World is a new season of coverage on TV, Radio and Online, examining global differences. Over the next few months, BBC News correspondents will be exploring eight key themes that illustrate the divisions in our extreme world.

The results come from a survey of more than 24,000 people across 24 countries.

They were asked whether innovation was highly valued in their country; whether it was hard for people like them to start a business; whether people who do were highly valued; and whether people with good ideas could usually put them into practice.

Relatively favourable

Taking all the answers together as a single index, Indonesia came out as the most favourable place for entrepreneurs.

Also near the top were the US, Canada and Australia.

All the developed economies surveyed were above the average score, with the exception of Italy, which was far below.

But there were also plenty of developing economies that came out as pro-entrepreneur - India, China and Nigeria were also perceived by their own people as relatively favourable places for new businesses.

In terms of regions, the four countries of East Asia and the Pacific surveyed all received high scores. All the three countries in Sub-Saharan Africa also scored above average.

But other regions were more varied. In Latin America, Mexico and Peru scored relatively highly, but Brazil and Colombia were well below average.

Entrepreneurship-friendly culture

Entrepreneuship culture graph

Index derived from the mean scores (on a scale from 1 to 4) of four questions:

  • valuation of creativity/innovation in own country
  • difficulty to start own business in country
  • valuation of people who start own business
  • ease of putting ideas into practice

In Western Europe, low scores in Italy and Spain were balanced by perceptions of a more favourable environment for entrepreneurs in Germany, France and the UK.

Surprise results

The poll does not provide evidence on why people took the views they did, and in some respects the results are consistent with widely-held perceptions of the country concerned.

For example, the US has a particularly pro-private sector culture and a smaller state sector than many western European countries. It is seen as a good place for entrepreneurs.

Russia, which received a low score in this poll, is seen internationally as a place where the state is too prone to intervene in economic life.

But there are some surprises. Labour laws in France are relatively tough, yet in this poll the country was seen as a good place for a new business.

Nigeria's problem with corruption did not stop it doing better than most countries in this survey.

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