http://www.sina.com.cn 2009年02月03日 11:43
What makes people shun the relative security of full-time employment and start up a business themselves? For the past five years, the European Union's head office has financed
an annual poll of more than 21,000 people on both sides of the Atlantic.
The survey told a different story. Europeans essentially said they couldn't be bothered with the effort involved in starting a business: They wanted a regular, fixed income and
a stable job.
The most recent of these studies, released this week, shows that despite efforts to make the Union more competitive, the majority of its citizens remain consistently less entrepreneurial and more risk-averse than their American counterparts.
Only 5 percent of Europeans said fear of red tape or reluctance to battle bureaucracies was holding them back. A corollary to this is the fear of failure in Europe. Half of all European respondents agreed with the statement, "One should not start a business if there is a risk it might fail." Only one-third of Americans agreed.
If Europe can successfully diminish the stigma of failure, more people would be willing to start their own businesses. "There is a completely different attitude toward risk,"
said Zourek of the European Commission, comparing Europe with the United States. In Europe, "once you try a venture and you don't succeed, you don't get a second chance, but you get a stigma," he said.
The European Union, he said, should make bankruptcy procedures less burdensome and make getting credit easier for risk-takers, even those who have failed before.
There were an estimated 20.5 million people working in start-up companies in the United States in 2003, this is 23 times the number of those working at startups in France. The
U.S. number was also 9 times the number of those in Britain and more than 7 times that of Germany.
That's not necessarily true of all Europeans: the poll found that people from smaller countries like Portugal, Greece, Ireland and Latvia were much more enthusiastic about working for themselves.
In this survey, 55 percent of Europeans aged 15 to 24 said that it would be "desirable" for them to become self-employed in the next five years. Among those 55 and older, only
18 percent said the same.
Young Europeans could be the motor of entrepreneurship. But with European countries having some of the lowest birth rates in the developed world, who will take their place?