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America Might Be the Best Land for Entrepreneurs but That's Just Not Good Enough

Namdaemun gateway, Seoul, South Korea
Land of opportunity? New York New York Hotel & Casino on Las Vegas Strip, Nevada. photo: wikipedia

A new ranking of G20 countries on entrepreneurial climate was published last week by global accounting and consulting firm Ernst & Young. The EY G20 Entrepreneurship Barometer of 2013 that surveyed 1,500 entrepreneurs and crunched economic metrics found that the United States had the best environment in the world for entrepreneurs, particularly when it comes to access to funding, entrepreneurship culture and training. The United States was followed by other English speaking members and South Korea (see chart overall ranking below).

Franchisees and franchisors are feeling peppier too, particularly when compared to their European counterparts who have been hit with a particularly long recession. The International Franchise Association's new Franchise Business Index showed franchise sentiment in America at a post-recession high of 110.2 in July (Jan 2000=100). In fact, compared to other countries, American entrepreneurs as a whole are more optimistic about their prospects. There's good reason:

Forty-eight percent of U.S. companies surveyed reported increased profits last year, the highest share among all the countries surveyed—and well above the average of 35 percent. [via BloombergBusinessWeek]

But when it comes to government and entrepreneurship, Americans "see the glass nearly empty," wrote small business columnist Robb Mandelbaum of the New York Times. Although entrepreneurial benchmarks in the United States scored higher than other countries, entrepreneur sentiment, and hence America's ranking was low when it came to tax and regulation as well as coordinated support among public, private and voluntary sectors.

Despite frequent griping about red tape, the 95 minutes a week U.S. small businesses spent on regulatory matters was the lowest in the survey.  [via BloombergBusinessWeek]

Why are American entrepreneurs so whiny when it comes to government compared to the rest of the world? Well for one, 95 minutes a week to deal with regulation??? I mean, really. At any rate, Mr. Marc Andersen, who leads the international government and public sector consulting practice at Ernst & Young, gives this insight.

The feedback from American businesses surveyed was so uniformly negative, the firm said, that it swamped the above-average statistical scores. The study's analysis, though, does not clearly identify the dichotomy. Nor does it attempt to explain it. Could American entrepreneurs simply be taking the opportunity to whine a bit? Or are they high-minded perfectionists? Mr. Andersen, for his part, thinks they are the latter. "If you look at the data, you wonder why are people so upset," he said. "It's not about being better than that other country, it's how much better we can be. That's part of being a leader. I think there's a fundamental recognition that it's never going to be good enough. We have to keep pushing. "I don't think they're spoiled," he continued. "It's just part of the DNA of never being satisfied." [via NY Times]

Overall country ranked by Quartile, alphabetically sorted

Quartile 1 Quartile 2 Quartile 3 Quartile 4
Australia EU Brazil Argentina
Canada France China India
South Korea Germany Mexico Indonesia
United Kingdom Japan Russia Italy
United States South Africa Saudi Arabia Turkey

Table: EY G20 Entrepreneurship Barometer 2013

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