Irish twice as likely to set up their own business

ENTREPRENEURIAL spirit is alive and well in Ireland according to research which suggests we are nearly twice as likely as our European counterparts to set up our own business.

The research shows the rate at which individuals started businesses in Ireland in 2008 was 4.3% of the population, compared with 2.7% in the EU.

We are also well ahead of the worldwide average on business start-ups with the 31 OECD developed economies showing an entrepreneurial rate of just 3.3% of population.

The highest level was seen in the United States, where 5% of the population has started their own business.

The report by Global Enterprise Monitor also found that the rate of established entrepreneurs is one of the highest in the OECD at 9%. Peter Jones, one of the original British Dragon’s Den team, believes the combination of the Irish national psyche and entrepreneurial spirit remains firmly rooted in fertile soil. “My own experience tells me that there are probably more entrepreneurs per square foot in Ireland than there are anywhere else on the globe,” he said.

Tom Hayes of Enterprise Ireland said: “In terms of numbers and volumes the rate has been consistent. The recession doesn’t seem to be impacting hugely on numbers coming through.”

AIB agrees the level of new business start-ups has remained relatively consistent for the past few years.

“We are opening over a thousand new business accounts every month,” says John Kelly, senior manager of market propositions.

Mr Kelly attributes much of this steady stream of new businesses to the supports created by state agencies including incubation units, grants, advice and training.

Last year, Enterprise Ireland invested in 73 high potential start-ups, 43 of which were located in Dublin. These businesses are expected to provide 1,500 jobs in three years.

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