The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) research is an annual assessment of entrepreneurial activity, aspirations and attitudes of individuals across several countries. Initiated in 1999, GEM has since grown to become the largest ongoing study of entrepreneurship in the world, providing valuable insights into the state of entrepreneurship within and across developed and developing economies. In 2012, GEM surveyed close to 200,000 individuals in 69 countries.
Singapore participated in GEM from 2001 to 2006 and from 2011 onwards. The current GEM study in Singapore is conducted by NTU, in collaboration with its commercial arm, Nanyang Innovation & Enterprise Office (NIEO). In the most recent study in 2012, about 2,000 Singapore residents were randomly surveyed to understand their aspirations, activities and attitudes towards entrepreneurship. In addition, 37 local entrepreneurship experts were interviewed about their views on the current entrepreneurship landscape in Singapore.
The 2012 study presents various important findings about entrepreneurship in Singapore, which are described below.
Singapore is evolving into a more entrepreneurial economy
11.6% of the respondents surveyed in 2012 are in the process of setting up their business, or have already started not more than 3.5 years ago, as measured by the total early-stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA) rate. This was higher than past reported rates of 6.6% in 2011 and 4.9 % in 2006. Similarly, there are currently more people who intend to start their business in the next three years. One in five respondents (21.4%) have such entrepreneurial intentions, compared to 15.3% in 2011 and 11.8% in 2006. Comparing the moving average of 2011 and 2012 figures across 21 innovation-driven economies*, Singapore is ranked third in both the TEA and Entrepreneurial Intention rates (see Figures 1 & 2 below).
Local start-ups capitalise on new technology, overseas markets and external partnerships
The report also found that Singapore ranked fourth among countries in having the largest percentage of early-stage businesses that have employed the latest or new technology in their services or products. About 15.4% of Singapore's early-stage businesses utilised technologies that were only available last year, while another 28.5% employed technologies available in the last one to five years.
Early-stage businesses here are also turning to overseas markets to reach new customers. More than 16% had between 75 and 100 percent of their customers based overseas, while over one quarter of new businesses (26.8%) in Singapore had between 25 and 75 percent of customers based in other countries.
Singapore's early-stage businesses also lead the rest of the world in terms of business collaborations. Almost three out of four (74.9%) Singapore new businesses worked with external partners to produce their goods and services, while 83.9% procured supplies from external sources.
Given the limited size of the domestic Singapore market, it is encouraging to find that Singapore’s early-stage businesses strive to be globalised and competitive.
Financial support and government policies rank top according to local experts
The local entrepreneurship experts were interviewed to understand their insights on the current entrepreneurship landscape in Singapore. Overall, the experts rated Singapore highly in various aspects, especially in terms of financial support and government policies, in which Singapore obtained the highest scores compared to 24 other developed economies. There are concerns, however, among the local experts about the accessibility to quality professional and commercial services. Experts felt that more start-up support could be provided to these budding companies to assist in their growth.
More entrepreneurs can be nurtured with focus on education and training
While Singapore is ranked among the top few nations with the highest level of start-up rates, there is still more room for growth. The GEM survey found that people who are confident of their entrepreneurial knowledge and skills are more likely to start a business. Only about a quarter of Singapore respondents (26.6%) felt they had the knowledge, skill and experience to start a business. Also, less than a quarter (22.5%) said there would be good opportunities to start a business within the next six months. In comparison, 55.9% of the respondents in the United States felt they have the required knowledge and skills while 43.5% believed there would be good business opportunities within the next six months. With more focus on providing quality entrepreneurship education and training to the masses, more entrepreneurs can be nurtured in Singapore.
For more information, you may download full report viz the link below:
GEM 2012 Singapore Report