Reader’s guide

This publication presents indicators of entrepreneurship collected by the OECD-Eurostat Entrepreneurship Indicators Programme (EIP). Started in 2006, the programme develops multiple measures of entrepreneurship and its determinants according to a conceptual framework that distinguishes between the manifestation of entrepreneurship, the factors that influence it, and the impacts of entrepreneurship on the economy. A defining characteristic of the programme is that it does not provide a single composite measure of overall entrepreneurship within an economy. Rather, recognising its multi-faceted nature, the programme revolves around a suite of indicators of entrepreneurial performance that each provide insights into one or more of these facets. Perhaps most important is the recognition within the programme that entrepreneurship is not only about start-ups or the number of self-employed persons: entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial forces can be found in many existing businesses and understanding the dynamism these actors exert on the economy is as important as understanding the dynamics of start-ups or the self-employed.

Indicators of entrepreneurial performance, computed by National Statistical Offices (NSOs), are presented for the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Romania, the Russian Federation, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

For each indicator, a short text explains what the indicator measures, how it is defined, and its policy relevance. Additional commentary is provided on the comparability of the indicator across countries.

Data are also presented for the entrepreneurial determinant “venture capital”, while a list of indicators of determinants of entrepreneurship, together with their data sources, is included in an Annex.


The set of indicators that are part of the EIP framework are developed to different degrees. Some of them are well-established components of regular data collections, while others are only compiled in a restricted number of countries, and their harmonised definition forms the object of discussion and further work. The indicators presented in this publication reflect this diversity:

  1. A) New enterprise creations

  2. B) Bankruptcies

  3. C) Self-employment

  4. D) Outlook and prospects of job creation

  5. E) Enterprises by size

  6. F) Employment by enterprise size

  7. G) Value added by enterprise size

  8. H) Turnover by enterprise size

  9. I) Compensation of employees by enterprise size

  10. J) Labour productivity by enterprise size

  11. K) Birth rate of enterprises

  12. L) Death rate of enterprises

  13. M) Survival of enterprises

  14. N) Employment creation and destruction by enterprise births and deaths

  15. O) High-growth enterprises rate

  16. P) Concentration of trade

  17. Q) Exports and imports by enterprise size

  18. R) Market proximity

  19. S) Exports and imports by enterprise ownership

  20. T) Self-employment by gender

  21. U) Self-employment among the youth

  22. V) Earnings from self-employment

  23. W) Entrepreneurial attitude

  24. X) Venture capital investments

Indicators A and B are drawn from the OECD Timely Indicators of Entrepreneurship (TIE) Database. Annex A provides the list of sources that are used to compile the database. The source of indicator C is the OECD Main Economic Indicators (MEI) Database. Indicator D is based on the results of the Future of Business Survey, a monthly online survey designed by Facebook jointly with the OECD Statistics Directorate and the World Bank.

For indicators E to O the source is the OECD Structural and Demographic Business Statistics (SDBS) Database. Indicators E to J refer to Structural Business Statistics, while indicators K to O consist of Business Demography statistics, generally computed from business registers. Indicators P to S originate from the OECD Trade by Enterprise Characteristics (TEC) Database. The harmonised data of the SDBS and TEC databases are collected annually from National Statistical Offices.

The indicators on self-employment come from Labour Force Surveys and Census Population data (indicators T and U) and Surveys on Income (indicators V).

Indicator W is based on the results of the Future of Business Survey.

The source of Indicator X is the OECD Entrepreneurship Finance Database.

Size-class breakdown

Structural Business Statistics indicators usually focus on five size classes based on the number of persons employed, where the data across countries and variables can be closely aligned in most cases: 1-9, 10-19, 20-49, 50-249, 250+. Not all country information fits perfectly into this classification, however, and any divergence from these target size classes is reported in each chapter.

For Business Demography data, the typical collection breakdown is 1-4, 5-9, 10+ employees to reflect the fact that a vast majority of newly created enterprises are micro-enterprises.

For Trade by Enterprise Characteristics (TEC) data, the size classification is based on four classes: 0-9, 10-49, 50-249, 250+ employees; in addition, a class denominated “unknown” contains information on trade for enterprises for which the size could not be established.

In this publication, micro-enterprises are defined as firms with 1-9 persons employed; small enterprises: 10-49; medium enterprises: 50-249; and large enterprises: 250 and more. The term “small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)” refers to the size class 1-249 persons employed. In figures based on TEC data, SMEs refer to enterprises with 0-249 employees.

Activity breakdown

Data are presented according to the International Standard Industrial Classification of all economic activities Revision 4 (ISIC Rev. 4). Business economy covers: Mining and quarrying (05-09), Manufacturing (10-33), Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (35), Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities (36-39), Construction (41-43) and Services (45-82). Services include: Wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (45-47), Transportation and storage (49-53); Accommodation and food service activities (55-56), Information and communication (58-63), Financial and insurance activities (64-66), Real estate activities (68), Professional, scientific and technical activities (69-75), and Administrative and support service activities (77-82).

For Structural Business Statistics (Chapters 2 and 3), the entire section of Financial and insurance activities (64-66) is excluded from Services, except for Canada and Korea; for Business Demography (Chapters 4 and 5), activities of holding companies (642) are excluded from Financial and insurance activities, except for Israel, Korea, Mexico and the United States.

In Chapters 4 to 6, the aggregate Industry is used and includes sectors 05 to 39. In Chapter 6, Total Economy covers all ISIC Rev. 4 sectors, from 01 to 99 (i.e. from agriculture to activities of extraterritorial organisations).

For some countries, data provided by the respective NSOs follow national classification systems that are subsequently converted to ISIC Rev. 4 for the following countries in this publication. The source data for Canada and Mexico follow the North American Industry Classification System 2012 at the level of 2-digit sections or higher. For Japan, 2013 structural data for the number of enterprises and the number of employees originate from the 2014 Economic Census for Business Frame and follow the Japan Standard Industrial Classification Rev. 13 at the level of 2-digit sections or higher. For Korea, 2006-2014 structural data for the number of enterprises and the number of employees are based on the Census of Establishments, which together with business demography data follow the Korean Standard Industrial Classification at the level of 2-digit sections or higher. The source data for European Union member states, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey follow the NACE Rev. 2 classification at the level of 3-digit groups and higher.

Business demography data for the United States and structural business data for the Russian Federation are compiled according to ISIC Rev. 3.

Data for the remaining countries are received from NSOs in ISIC Rev. 4.

Country codes

The figures in this publication use ISO codes (ISO3) for country names as listed below.
























New Zealand










Czech Republic










Russian Federation




Slovak Republic












South Africa
















United Kingdom




United States




Viet Nam

EIP Framework

Entrepreneurship is defined by the EIP as the phenomenon associated with entrepreneurial activity, which is the enterprising human action in pursuit of the generation of value, through the creation or expansion of economic activity, by identifying and exploiting new products, processes or markets. In this sense, entrepreneurship is a phenomenon that manifests itself throughout the economy and in many different forms with many different outcomes, not always related to the creation of financial wealth; for example, they may be related to increasing employment, tackling inequalities or environmental issues. The challenge of the EIP is to improve the understanding of these multiple manifestations. The programme recognises that no single indicator can ever adequately cover entrepreneurship, and it has therefore developed a set of measures that each captures a different aspect or type of entrepreneurship; these measures are referred to as EIP indicators of entrepreneurial performance. There are some 20 performance indicators covered in the EIP.

The EIP takes a comprehensive approach to the measurement of entrepreneurship by looking not only at the manifestation of the entrepreneurial phenomenon but also at the factors that influence it. These factors range from the market conditions to the regulatory framework, to the culture or the conditions of access to finance. While some areas of determinants lend themselves more readily to measurement (for instance, the existence and restrictiveness of anti-trust laws or the administrative costs of setting-up a new business in a country), for other determinants the difficulty resides in finding suitable measures (e.g. business angel capital) and/or in comprehending the exact nature of their relationship with entrepreneurship (e.g. culture). An objective of the EIP in this instance is to contribute to advancing research on the less understood and less measurable determinants of entrepreneurship. Annex B presents a comprehensive list of indicators of determinants and the corresponding data sources.