Entrepreneurship indicators - Statistics Explained

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Entrepreneurship indicators

Eurostat is a partner in the OECD entrepreneurship indicators programme (EIP) which collects internationally-comparable statistics. The aim of the EIP is to develop a list of indicators, standard definitions and concepts, to facilitate the collection of statistics in this domain.

The challenge is to provide data that not only allows policy-makers and academics to understand better the rate and types of entrepreneurial activity, but also its impact (especially wealth creation, employment and productivity gains).

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Measuring entrepreneurship – a three-pronged approach

  • Performance – may, at least in part, be linked to the underlying business environment, conditioned by many economic, environmental and sociological factors, as well as the attributes of individual entrepreneurs. The indicators designed to measure performance comprise a basket of variables that generally reflect entrepreneurship, some of which have been collected for several years, while others will require new data collection exercises.
  • Impact - can be measured not just in monetary terms, but via a range of variables, e.g. GDP growth, employment creation, income distribution.
  • Determinants - entrepreneurial activity is likely, at least in part, to be self-fuelling, i.e. increased GDP means more money and thus easier access to finance for new businesses, while success stories encourage other potential entrepreneurs to convert their ideas into a real business. However, there may also be negative correlations (push factors), i.e. more people (thinking of) setting up their own business in times of economic hardship, e.g. high unemployment.


The empirical basis for work on entrepreneurship is still being developed. However, initial data grouped according to the draft indicator matrix are available. More information on different aspects of entrepreneurship can be found in several SBS domains:

  • the size-class series within structural business statistics are a main source of data for analysing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including so-called micro enterprises with fewer than 10 persons employed;
  • business demography statistics – data on the active population of enterprises, their birth, survival and death – with a focus on how these events affect employment levels;
  • a pilot survey on the factors of business success.
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