Business management

Latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor shows UK entrepreneurship is bouncing back

Research by the latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) suggests entrepreneurs are bouncing back after the pandemic. However, it also suggests major support is still needed.

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor: in numbers

Looking at how entrepreneur numbers have changed among different segments of the UK population, the report found that:

  • Early-stage entrepreneurial activity among 55 – 64 year-olds has nearly doubled in the UK, going from 3.2% in 2020 to 7.4% in 2021.
  • The ratio of female-to-male entrepreneurship in England has risen to 73%, up from 69% in 2020.
  • Entrepreneurial activity among the UK’s non-white population stood at 20.4% in 2021. Among the ethnic white population, this rate was 10.1%.
  • 55.5% of potential entrepreneurs in Wales say fear of failure prevented them from starting a business.

The resilience of small businesses over recent years is both inspiring and important

Andrew Harrison
Managing Director, Business Banking, NatWest

The research, based on a sample of just over 10,000 individuals, also found that almost one in three working-age individuals are either engaged in entrepreneurial activity or intend to start a business within the next three years.


What’s next for UK entrepreneurs?

Mark Hart, Deputy Director of the UK’s Enterprise Research Centre and Professor of Small Business and Entrepreneurship at Aston Business School, says: “In 2020 we saw a collapse of early-stage entrepreneurial activity as many decided to delay their move into setting up their own business in the face of the most severe economic downturn in 300 years – but within 12 months it has bounced back.

“The GEM survey, undertaken in the middle of 2021, showed a sharp rise in the number of individuals in the early stages of setting up a new business compared to even the pre-pandemic high in 2019. It is now at the highest level since the annual survey began in 1999 and is an indicator of the entrepreneurial resilience of the UK.”

As economic headwinds gather, however, Andrew Harrison, our Managing Director of Business Banking, is keen to point out that the nation’s entrepreneurs need further support.

He adds: “The resilience of small businesses over recent years is both inspiring and important. As the economy faces significant turbulence in the year ahead, it is critical that the UK has a thriving ecosystem to support this boom in entrepreneurship, which is central to economic stability and growth.

“As the UK’s biggest bank for business, we are determined to play our part in helping the future business success stories start, scale and thrive.”

The full 2021 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report for the UK as a whole

UK Report (PDF, 13,870KB)

The full 2021 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report for Wales

Wales Report (PDF, 2,017KB)

This material is published by NatWest Group plc (“NatWest Group”), for information purposes only and should not be regarded as providing any specific advice. Recipients should make their own independent evaluation of this information and no action should be taken, solely relying on it. This material should not be reproduced or disclosed without our consent. It is not intended for distribution in any jurisdiction in which this would be prohibited. Whilst this information is believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified by NatWest Group and NatWest Group makes no representation or warranty (express or implied) of any kind, as regards the accuracy or completeness of this information, nor does it accept any responsibility or liability for any loss or damage arising in any way from any use made of or reliance placed on, this information. Unless otherwise stated, any views, forecasts, or estimates are solely those of NatWest Group, as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Copyright © NatWest Group. All rights reserved.

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