Data Collection

The data collection engine powering GEM research is composed of two complementary tools:

The Adult Population Survey (APS), which tracks the entrepreneurial attitudes, activity and aspirations of individuals;

The National Expert Survey (NES), which monitors Entrepreneurial Framework Conditions (EFCs) - nine aspects of a country’s socio-economic milieu that are believed to have a significant impact on national entrepreneurship.


The APS is a comprehensive questionnaire, administered to a minimum of 2000 adults in each GEM country, designed to collect detailed information on the entrepreneurial activity, attitudes and aspirations of respondents. 

At the beginning of each annual cycle, the central GEM data team drafts the survey, its sample, and all data collection requirements, providing these to the National Teams in the form of a Request For Proposal (RFP). Each National Team submits a proposal, which the data team carefully review, requesting additional information as necessary, and determining whether it meets the GEM criteria. Only when the GEM central data team is satisfied that the proposal meets all such requirements is the National Team approved to begin their survey.

The individual national surveys are all collected in the same way and at the same time of year to facilitate reliable cross-national and longitudinal comparisons. 

Once the surveys are complete, data is submitted to the central data team for processing. Once processed, it is returned to the National Teams for review and checking. Several iterations of the data are produced and reviewed over a period of months. This exhaustive data collection process produces high quality data which is then analyzed to produce a wealth of measures that provide valuable insights into the entrepreneurial activity, attitudes and aspirations of individuals around the world. 

The APS questionnaires are made publicly available so that researchers may consult the instrument used for data collection. Please note that all versions of the GEM Adult Population Survey are copyrighted and must not be used to replicate data collection.

In 2013, GEM is pleased to be working with InnovAccer, who provide an additional level of review and scrutiny of National Team APS data collection proposals. 



The NES is a survey instrument administered to a minimum of 36 ‘experts’ in each GEM country, allowing the measurement of the nine key Entrepreneurial Framework Conditions (EFCs):

- Finance

- Government policies

- Government programs

- Entrepreneurial education and training

- R&D transfer

- Commercial and professional infrastructure

- Internal market openness

- Physical infrastructure and services

- Cultural and social norms

For more information on the Entrepreneurial Framework Conditions please consult WHAT DOES GEM MEASURE?

GEM National Teams are required to interview at least four experts for each EFC. For example, the team may choose to interview venture capitalists or business angels to cover 'Finance'; they may interview researchers or scientists to cover 'R&D transfer'.

There are no restrictions on the age range or gender for the target population for the GEM NES: experts are selected by their experience and specialization in the concrete framework conditions. The central data team review the selection of experts by National Teams in advance; the survey may begin only when they are satisfied that there is sufficient representation for each EFC. Experts should be residents in the country and are asked to cover all geographic regions (including urban as well as rural areas) in their assessments.

The NES is inherently different from the GEM Adult Population Survey: the objective is to have qualified opinions. The questionnaire itself is simple and asks the respondent to evaluate several items relating to the entrepreneurial framework conditions. Other topics are also assessed, such as the conditions for female entrepreneurship, social images of entrepreneurship, Intellectual Property Rights, with particular attention paid to growth-oriented entrepreneurship and innovation. Additional items cover the economy’s main strengths, weaknesses and challenges as far as the entrepreneurial framework is concerned. 


National Teams

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