The world is currently in the grip of a devastating pandemic, COVID-19, which has been causing widespread negative health, social and economic impacts. There is a pressing need for careful, authoritative and evidence-based assessment of the pandemic’s impacts on levels of entrepreneurial activity across the world, as well as on attitudes and ambitions.

The new 2020/2021 GEM Global Report spells out how levels of entrepreneurial motivation and activity vary across the world. In doing so, it provides the world’s first evidence-based assessment of the impacts of COVID-19 on levels of entrepreneurship.

In most countries across the world in 2020, there were more people who knew someone who stopped a business than knew someone who started one, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2020/2021 Global Report.

The United Kingdom experienced falls across most measures of entrepreneurial activity in 2020, although there were also some points of optimism, and it is difficult to disentangle the effects of the pandemic from the impacts of Brexit.  The United Kingdom’s Total early-stage Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) rate fell from 9.9% in 2019 to 7.8% in 2020, below the Netherlands (11.5%) but above Germany (4.8%) as peer comparisons.

Within the respondents involved in TEA, there was an even split between those who saw new opportunities because of the pandemic and those who did not.  The 49% of UK early-stage entrepreneurs who saw opportunities because of the pandemic represents the highest figure among European countries, and the same rate as the United States.

The full GEM UK report for 2020 will be published in early July 2021.