Amway, the largest direct selling company in the world, has released its annual findings on the state of entrepreneurship worldwide.
The 2018 Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report (AGER) was conducted by Amway in partnership with Dr. Isabell M. Welpe, a professor and the chair of strategy and organization in the School of Management at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, and spans 44 countries, with in-person and telephone interviews conducted with nearly 49,000 men and women aged 14–99.
“Gaining a greater understanding of why people decide for or against owning a business and what kind of businesses are most appealing is helpful for effectively fostering a world of entrepreneurs,” said Amway President Doug DeVos. “This knowledge can help business and government leaders to make decisions and take actions that help more people start their own businesses and reach their full potential in this area. More entrepreneurs mean more opportunity, more economic growth and more prosperity for everyone.”
The 2018 study finds that more U.S. respondents (57 percent) have the desire to start their own business compared to global respondents (49 percent). While the desire to become an entrepreneur in the U.S. is down slightly from the previous year (61 percent), there is a strong sense of continued optimism among respondents.
Age, gender and education levels also can potentially impact attitudes towards entrepreneurship. Most surprisingly, in the U.S., the education gap is significantly shrinking when it comes to desirability of starting a business. The report explains that having a university degree does not play a significant role in shaping entrepreneurial spirit; those with and without university degrees exhibited similar sentiments.
The report confirmed the desirability of starting a business falls with age. While the Amway Entrepreneurial Spirit Index (AESI) score is the same (58) for respondents under 35 years of age and those between the ages of 35 and 49, it is considerably lower (51) for respondents over 50 years old. The youngest age group surveyed demonstrated the strongest desire (68 percent) to start a business. This falls to 60 percent for the middle age group and 48 percent for the oldest group of respondents. Most interestingly, the feasibility of becoming an entrepreneur follows a different demographic pattern with respect to age. It is the lowest for the youngest respondents (58 percent) and highest for the middle-aged respondents (64 percent).
The report also states that gender plays a clear role in shaping the entrepreneurial spirit of Americans. While 67 percent of U.S. males reported starting a business would be desirable, only 47 percent of U.S. females reported the same. Similarly, 69 percent of U.S. male respondents felt they have the requisite capabilities to become an entrepreneur compared to 52 percent of U.S. females. In general, men also had higher AESI scores (62 percent) compared to women (48 percent), roughly similar to previous years.
“Across the United States, the spirit of entrepreneurship is alive and thriving, from coast to coast,” said Dr. David B. Audretsch, professor and director of the Institute for Development Strategies at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs. “This year’s AGER confirms Americans continue to view entrepreneurship in a positive light and are open to the idea of starting their own business. Compared to the global average, attitudes towards entrepreneurship in America are sustaining momentum from previous years and are on track to experience continued growth.”
Similar to previous years, the AGER features the AESI. Introduced in 2015, the AESI measures three dimensions that influence a person’s intention to start a business: desire, feasibility and stability against social pressure. The average for all countries slightly declined from 50 to 47. In the U.S., AESI score was 54, similar to recent years (2016: 56 and 2015: 53). Additionally:
- 57 percent of U.S. respondents expressed the desire to become an entrepreneur – desire
- 60 percent of U.S. respondents felt prepared for entrepreneurship – feasibility
- 46 percent of U.S. respondents would not dismiss their dream of starting a business if their family or friends stood in the way – stability
In looking at U.S. respondents’ abilities and attitudes regarding starting and running a business, the majority (88 percent) perceive themselves as socially supported (compared to 64 percent globally). When it comes to taking risks, 74 percent of U.S. respondents consider themselves to be risk-takers, compared to 47 percent of respondents globally.
The first iteration of AGER launched in 2010 as the Amway European Entrepreneurship Report, then expanded worldwide with the 2013 AGER, encompassing 24 countries. The 2018 AGER Fieldwork was completed by the Gesellschaft fuer Konsumforschung, Nuremberg, from April through June 2017. Results are shared with the scientific community, including the 44 AGER academic advisors and all interested think tanks and academic and public institutions.
Full results and more information about AGER can be found here.