Almost 4 out of 10 Europeans would like to be their own boss if they could. If this potential could be tapped, millions of new businesses could be added to the almost 21 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the EU.
"In the worst economic crisis since 1945, we should look back to the roots of the economic miracle in Europe after the war. It was based on entrepreneurship and bold decisions taken by entrepreneurial personalities. I encourage more Europeans to follow their example, take the plunge and become their own boss. If we want to stimulate growth in Europe, we must start with SMEs. We will do our best to ensure that the Europe's enormous entrepreneurial potential can be fully exploited."
Various obstacles prevent Europeans from opting for self-employment, in particular fear of bankruptcy and risk of irregular income. The Flash Eurobarometer "Entrepreneurship in the EU and beyond", presented by European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani at SME Summit in Cyprus, also highlights that in 2009 more Europeans (45%) wanted to be self-employed. This is a drop of 20% within three years, which reflects the current economic situation with its less promising business prospects.
Yet there are still millions who consider becoming their own boss, driven by the prospects of personal independence, better income and freedom to choose the place and time of work. To unlock the enormous potential of millions of would-be entrepreneurs, the European Commission will launch a European Entrepreneurship Action Plan to boost entrepreneurship at all levels, aiming to bring growth and employment back to Europe.
Desirability of self-employment - large differences between Member States
The main results of the Eurobarometer survey can be summarised as follows:
The SME Assembly
About the Eurobarometer Survey on entrepreneurship
For over a decade the European Commission has been studying the development of entrepreneurship in EU Member States. Flash Eurobarometer No 354 “Entrepreneurship in the EU and beyond” covers the 27 countries currently comprising the EU as well as 13 countries from outside the EU. Several of these non-EU countries are included here for the first time, namely Brazil, Israel, India and Russia.