United States

Institution: Babson College
Survey Vendor: Elemental
Funders: Babson College

Baruch College
Key Indicators
TEA: 13.8%
Total early-stage Entrepreneurial Activity: percentage of 18-64 population who are either a nascent entrepreneur or owner-manager of a new business
Established Business Ownership: 6.9%
Percentage of 18-64 population who are currently an owner-manager of an established business, i.e., owning and managing a running business that has paid salaries, wages, or any other payments to the owners for more than 42 months
Perceived Opportunities: 51%
Percentage of 18-64 population (individuals involved in any stage of entrepreneurial activity excluded) who see good opportunities to start a firm in the area where they live
Perceived Capabilities: 53%
Percentage of 18-64 population (individuals involved in any stage of entrepreneurial activity excluded) who believe they have the required skills and knowledge to start a business
Entrepreneurial Intention: 12%
Percentage of 18-64 population (individuals involved in any stage of entrepreneurial activity excluded) who are latent entrepreneurs and who intend to start a business within three years
Fear of Failure: 30%
Percentage of 18-64 population (individuals involved in any stage of entrepreneurial activity excluded) who indicate that fear of failure would prevent them from setting up a business

Consistently high level of participation in entrepreneurship supported by favourable environmental conditions

Most recent data: 2014

The U.S. continues a four year pattern of high and stable total early-stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA) rates. For the fourth year in a row, a minimum of 13% of U.S. adults are starting and running new businesses.

Just after the 2008 recession, TEA rates dropped markedly in 2009 and again in 2010. This measure then rebounded in 2011 and maintained a remarkably stable rate for four years. Among 26 developed economies, the U.S. had the second highest TEA rate in 2014.

High rates of entrepreneurship are accompanied by high levels of innovation and growth. In 2014, 36.7% of U.S entrepreneurs stated that their products or services were innovative and 44.8% expected to grow their businesses by 6 or more employees in the next five years. With a large and diverse internal market, however, U.S. entrepreneurs are less internationally oriented, with 14.5% having substantial international customers.

In U.S. society, opportunity perceptions continue to grow, reaching the highest level reported by GEM since 1999; 50.9% of people in the U.S. believe there are good opportunities for entrepreneurship in 2014. Capabilities perceptions are remarkably stable: in 2014, 53.3% of people thought they had the capabilities to start a business, down from a stable 56% for the past seven years. Fear of failure is low for a developed economy, but still higher than pre-recession levels.

The average U.S. entrepreneur is educated with a college degree, closer to mid-career in age, from a higher income household, and more likely to be male. He is likely to be opportunity-motivated and comparatively likely to be operating in the knowledge-intensive sector (business services).

Enablers and Constraints

In general, entrepreneurship is seen positively in the U.S. and it is easy to get a business started. There is huge diversity, however, across the country. There are, of course, highly entrepreneurial regions like Silicon Valley and Boston 128. 

Entrepreneurship thrives in the U.S. where there are universities, good transportation and communication, a population that includes young people, clusters of industrial activity, and quality of life (schools, climate, recreation, arts).

Initiatives Supporting Entrepreneurship

Programs and policies for entrepreneurship tend to occur at the state level. Overall, the U.S. is more oriented toward reducing barriers, but individual states may fund incubators or provide assistance programs (training, advising). Programs may target specific groups like women, youth or low income populations.

Trends Over Time

Opportunity perceptions in the general U.S. population and entrepreneurial activity are sensitive to economic cycles, but people are consistent over time about their capabilities for entrepreneurship. In the past three years, TEA rates have been quite stable, while they had been shown to fluctuate previously.

Challenges for the Future

The big challenges are getting entrepreneurs to be more globally competitive, and maintaining innovativeness in a global economy.

United States Reports

Report information
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: National Reports
  • Language: English
  • Upload date: 2016-08-05

  • Opportunity perceptions dropped from a high of 51% in 2014 to 47% in 2015. This is the first drop since these perceptions began to rise in 2010. While the United States reports the highest level of capability perceptions (56%) at the innovation-driven development level, one-third of these economies report higher opportunity perceptions than the United States. This suggests that Americans remain highly confident in their abilities to start a business, but are seeing fewer opportunities to do so.
  • URL: http://www.gemconsortium.org/report/49562
GEM USA 2015 Report
Report information
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: National Reports
  • Language: English
  • Upload date: 2015-09-23

  • Entrepreneurship in the United States in 2014 involves high participation across each phase of the process, and it is accompanied by high levels of employee entrepreneurship activity. High impact is evident in the industry makeup, and in growth ambitions and innovativeness of American entrepreneurs, although low internationalization may represent missed opportunities. Positive attitudes about entrepreneurship are reflected in societal support for this activity, yet Americans show declining personal interactions with entrepreneurs over time. Analyses of women and of older and younger populations show the particular nature and needs of different groups.
  • URL: http://www.gemconsortium.org/report/49226
GEM USA 2014 Report
Report information
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: National Reports
  • Language: English
  • Upload date: 2015-03-27

  • The United States economy has been experiencing a slow recovery since The Great Recession (the financial crisis) and 2013 is not an exception. There are, however, developments that make 2013 different. Wall Street rallied throughout 2013, ending with one of its best years in recent times. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 26.5% (from 13,104 to about 16,577), its largest rise since 1989, and the S&P 500 rose by 32.4%, its largest increase since 1997. The unemployment rate, although still more than 6.5%, showed the largest annual drop since the recession. Health care costs exhibited smaller increases in 2013 and new housing starts reached an all-time high since the Great Recession started in November 2007.

  • URL: http://www.gemconsortium.org/report/48861
GEM USA 2013 Report
Report information
GEM USA 2012 Media Report
Report information
GEM USA 2012 Infographic