For Entrepreneurs, U.S. Comes Out on Top

Two new reports show that entrepreneurs in the United States have it pretty good – especially compared to other countries.

In its “DNA of an Entrepreneur” study, small-business insurance provider Hiscox compared six countries: the U.S., U.K., Germany, Netherlands, France and Spain.

Of the six countries, the U.S. had the highest percentage of small businesses reporting increased revenue (48%) last year – significantly higher than the average of 37%. In Spain, just over one quarter of small businesses saw revenues improve in the same period.

Small-business optimism is also stronger in the United States than in the European Union, according to the study. Optimism among American entrepreneurs increased by five percentage points since 2011, while the percentage of small-business owners with a positive outlook fell by 11 points in the European countries.

Another new study, by Ernst & Young, highlights the cultural differences between the U.S. and the other members of the G20 when it comes to entrepreneurship.

Overall, the U.S. placed in the upper quartile of countries examined in the Ernst & Young G20 Entrepreneurship Barometer, alongside Australia, Canada, South Korea and the U.K. Looking more specifically, however, the U.S. ranked no. 1 in entrepreneurship culture and access to funding, and no. 3 in education and training.

“Culture is an important part of the entrepreneurial environment. To encourage more entrepreneurs, a country needs a set of beliefs that make entrepreneurship a valid and respected career choice,” write the authors of the Ernst & Young study.

This viewpoint was also seen in the Hiscox survey. Of the six countries surveyed, the U.S. had the smallest percentage of small businesses who said that the education system does not encourage individual ideas and dreams.

Additionally, only 23% of small businesses surveyed by Hiscox say that Americans are not culturally inclined to take risks – compared to an average of 47%, and a high of 70% in France.

A Startup Manifesto in Europe

The differences between the U.S. and the E.U. when it comes to producing great entrepreneurs aren’t going unnoticed.

Yesterday, a group of prominent European entrepreneurs, including Daniel Ek, the founder and CEO of music-streaming service Spotify, released the Startup Europe Manifesto.

“Entrepreneurship, which has been the engine for growth in the United States, has not been cultivated in an effective or systematic way in Europe. To create more businesses and more startups requires more than a change in policy. It requires a change in mentality,” write the authors of the manifesto. Other contributors include Niklas Zennstrom, the CEO of Atomico, and Lars Hinrichs, the founder and CEO of HackFwd.

The manifesto notes that the so-called “Internet Economy” in G20 countries is expected to grow at an annual rate of 8% over the next five years, compared to growth of 18% in developing markets.

The Startup Europe Manifesto details a five-step plan to improving the culture of entrepreneurship in Europe, focusing on education and skills, access to talent, funding, policy and “thought leadership,” which is described as getting more people excited about innovation and tech startups.

The creators of the manifesto are hoping to secure signatures of support by the end of September, in order to “ensure the proposals are as robust and actionable as possible.” As of writing, 940 people had signed the manifesto.