Survey checks out NZ entrepreneurs

New Zealand is included for the first time in a 29-country survey of entrepreneurial activity and mindset, conducted by a collection of research teams from around the world including the London Business School.

New Zealand is included for the first time in a 29-country survey of entrepreneurial activity and mindset, conducted by a collection of research teams from around the world including the London Business School.

The New Zealand survey was conducted in two prongs. A survey of 2000 members of the public, conducted by Digipoll, asked up to 37 questions, beginning with “filter” questions designed to identify the entrepreneurs. The first of these is “Are you engaged in a startup enterprise or any form of self-employment?” The latter phrase was designed to trap activity in the “black” (unofficial) economy, says survey co-ordinator Professor Howard Frederick of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Unitec.

Subsequent filter questions establish whether the activity has a formal business plan and tackle business ownership and employment of others in the business. For those who show up as entrepreneurs, more detailed questions on the management of the business, the manager’s business attitudes and sources of funding follow.

Questions are also asked about communications behaviour — for example: How many people in your personal network have you communicated with in the past month?

As well as establishing the incidence of entrepreneurship, the exercise correlated entrepreneurial behaviour with technological factors such as cellphone ownership.

The other prong was a set of more in-depth interviews with 41 New Zealand experts on their own perspective of appropriate “frameworks” for entrepreneurship. Each expert performed a structured assessment of the New Zealand entrepreneurial sector. The surveyors also carried out a “content analysis” of their remarks, to capture issues and trends common amongst them.

The results of the surveys were put against a set of New Zealand economic indicators.

The results of the survey are in, but are being kept under wraps until they will be revealed with some fanfare on November 15. Frederick discloses, however, that New Zealand “did very well” in its positioning among the 29 countries.

Australia joined the exercise only last year.

The major obstacle to New Zealand’s participation earlier was the difficult in gaining sponsorship, says Frederick. The exercise cost about $250,000.

Sponsors were Unitec, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Science and Innovation Advisory Council, the Tindall foundation, consultancy Ernst & Young and law firm Lowndes Associates.

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