The Most Fearful and Fearless Countries When it comes to Starting a Business

Walking away from a steady-paying job to start up your own business can be daunting. It takes a lot of bravery to make that leap of faith. While a lot of people have brilliant business ideas, relatively few of them actually put them into action and launch their own businesses. And it’s often the fear of failure that people cite when talking about what has prevented them from starting up.  

The graphic below shows which countries have the highest percentage of people who say this fear is the main thing holding them back. It also looks at how that compares with those who are already taking the plunge into the world of entrepreneurship.

The country with the most fearful aspiring entrepreneurs is the United Arab Emirates with a whopping 61% of people citing fear as the main reason they wouldn’t start a business. This may seem surprising at first glance, given that setting up a business in the UAE is relatively easy; the legal process of establishing a company only consists of six simple steps and takes an average of eight days to complete. However, when you remember that only a few years ago having your business go bankrupt could land you in prison, it’s not surprising that the fear of failure is still deeply rooted in the psyche of the UAE’s citizens.  But with new legislation offering some protection for bankrupt business owners there is hope for the future of the UAE’s entrepreneurial spirit. For those brave enough to make that leap of faith into the business world, some of the top industries to invest in at the moment are construction, hair & beauty and real estate agencies.

In the US, the American dream is founded on entrepreneurial spirit, however 33% of people said the fear of failure was the main thing that stood in the way of them from starting up a business. While the proportion of startups that fail is still high, business failure rates overall are actually in a pattern of long-term decline. According to Entrepreneur, the rate at which US startups failed, year on year, has fallen by 30 percent since 1977.

In the UK, 36% of people indicated that fear of failure would prevent them from starting their own business. But this clearly hasn’t dampened the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit entirely, as the UK has seen Europe’s highest growth for startups across all industries over the last 5 years.

Ecuador, on the other hand, came out as the most fearless country when it comes to starting a business with 30% of 18 to 64 year olds listed as new entrepreneurs. This was closely followed by Guatemala, with 25% of the population listed as new entrepreneurs. These two countries might not be the first places you’d think of as entrepreneurial hubs, but due to the lack of formal job opportunities, Ecuadorians and Guatemalans are often spurred on by this to create their own opportunities by developing new and innovative businesses.

Below is the full breakdown of the most fearful and fearless countries when it comes to starting a business. Check out the full interactive graphic here.

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Writer: Roxanne Bracknell 

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