We're a nation of entrepreneurs
Australians are the most entrepreneurial people in the developed world with more than 20% of adults running their own business, or planning to start one, according to a joint study produced by the University of Adelaide and Swinburne University of Technology.
The study also shows that Australians value independence above income when it comes to their working life.
These findings are part of the world's largest study of entrepreneurship and business ownership, coordinated by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM).
Professor Noel Lindsay and Mr Gary Hancock from the University of Adelaide's Entrepreneurship Commercialisation and Innovation Centre (ECIC) and Professor Kevin Hindle from the Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship, Swinburne, collaborated on the study, which was based on 2006 data.
The authors found that most Australians strongly believed that working for themselves provided much greater satisfaction and opportunities than being an employee.
"Business owners in the 22 to 44-year-age bracket are particularly optimistic about the growth of their business in coming years and are focused on the export market, which is very encouraging for the future of small business in Australia," the report's authors said.
The downside is that a large percentage of Australian business owners lack confidence in their own skills and are less innovative than their competitors in other developed nations.
"There is a distinct lack of evidence for technology-based innovation in all sectors measured by the Australian survey. This should be of major concern for policy makers.
"In Australia, start-up businesses also continue to be funded predominantly by people who are known to the business founder - friends, family and other acquaintances. There is a big gap between the amount of money that entrepreneurs would like and the amount that informal investors are willing to invest," the authors said.
The latest survey also shows that in 2006, for every 100 males there are 70 females engaged in business start-ups, although this figure has varied considerably in the past.
Australia has participated in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor since 2000. For more information go to www.gemaustralia.com.au
Story by Candy Gibson