A robust 74 percent of entrepreneurs around the world have started businesses in pursuit of an opportunity rather than out of necessity, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2017/18 Global Report.

Fifty-four economies participated in the 2017/18 GEM survey, covering 68 percent of the world’s population and 86 percent of the world’s GDP.

Key Findings

Innovation is highest in North America at 40 percent. This is measured by the extent to which entrepreneurs are introducing new products that are unfamiliar to all or some customers and offered by few or no competitors.

Thirty percent of North American entrepreneurs expect to create at least six jobs in the next five years.

In developing economies, more than half of all entrepreneurs operate in wholesale and retail. In contrast, 61 percent of entrepreneurs in North America operate in the technology, finance, and professional services sectors.

“The high levels of innovation, growth-oriented entrepreneurship, and startup activity in technology, finance, and professional service sectors distinguishes entrepreneurship in North America from other regions,” said Donna Kelley (photo), Babson College Professor and member of the Board of Directors of the Global Entrepreneurship Research Association, which overseas GEM. “Entrepreneurs here are key drivers of knowledge and human capital-based business activity. They are improving people’s lives through new and advanced products and services, creating jobs, and demonstrating clear impact not only within their society, but around the world.”

Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America, demonstrate the highest rates of women entrepreneurship (17 percent and 13 percent). These two regions also have the highest rates of youth entrepreneurship (17 percent and 14 percent).