The U.S. is the home of Silicon Valley, countless startups, and the world's most celebrated culture of entrepreneurship. It's no surprise that it was ranked as having the top environment for entrepreneurs among the world's 20 largest economies in Ernst and Young's annual survey.
The U.S. ranked as having the best access to funding by a significant margin, as well as the best entrepreneurship culture, which means that it tolerates risk and failure, prefers self-employment, has an innovation and research culture, and celebrates self-made wealth to a greater extent than the other countries. It also has the third-best education and training environment.
Half of the final ranking was determined by a survey of entrepreneurs, and the other half was determined by quantitative data on the conditions for entrepreneurs in each country. The exception is the "coordinated support" metric, which is entirely based on survey responses. A higher score is more desirable.
Here are the full rankings:
Even the areas the U.S. ranks poorly in — taxes, regulation, and coordinated support — aren't all that negative. In the quantitative analysis, the U.S. has above average or strong rankings in areas like ease of starting a business, tax rate, and overall time spent doing taxes. However, it's pulled down by the survey results, since U.S.-based entrepreneurs tend to feel very negative about taxes and regulation.
The place the U.S. comes in dead last among the 20 nations is in coordinated support. That's a measure of the growth in the links between the government, industry, and volunteer sectors designed to boost entrepreneurship.
That's the one measure that's based only on survey data, and a high ranking is definitely desirable. But according to Businessweek, the U.S.' low rating shouldn't be particularly disheartening. The emerging nations at the top of the coordinated support ranking, such as Russia and India, don't have anything approaching the funding and entrenched support systems available in the U.S.
That doesn't mean there's no room for improvement in the U.S., but there's a reason so many tech giants like Apple, Google, and Facebook got their start here, and that people who want to create the next one flock here.
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