The greater availability of data on entrepreneurship is one of the main drivers behind the rush to build better startup ecosystems around the world. By revealing weak areas in a country’s entrepreneurship ecosystem and enabling cross-country benchmarking, more data is yielding important insights for better economic and regulatory policymaking.

Data projects have always varied in their methodology and even in their definitions of terms like “new business” and “entrepreneurial venture.” Further, parameters for business size and growth categories also vary widely across data sources. However, with more data sources emerging, we can now crosscheck or triangulate data to test whether a specific measure stands despite the differences in methodologies and definitions. For example, if the entrepreneurial pulse of a country is positive across methodologies, we can feel more confident about making a judgment about that nation’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.

It has been a few months since I last reported on some of the available sources for global data on entrepreneurship. At the time, my list of global data sources included:

Ahead of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress which kicks off this coming weekend, I thought I would point out additional data I have been made aware of in the hope readers can let me know if there are more sources we are missing. Here are the ones I recently added to my own data bank:

  • The Global Innovation Policy Index: The Kauffman Foundation and the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation released in March 2012 a thorough analysis of fifty-five countries (all OECD members, all EU member states, 19 of the 21 APEC member economies, and the developing nations of Argentina, Brazil, India, and South Africa). The report assesses these countries on their strength in seven core policy areas:
    1. Open and non-discriminatory market access and foreign direct investment policies;
    2. Science and R&D policies that spur innovation;
    3. Openness to domestic competition and new firm entry;
    4. Effective intellectual property rights protection policies;
    5. Digital policies enabling the robust deployment of ICT platforms;
    6. Open and transparent government procurement policies; and
    7. Openness to high-skill immigration.
  • One of the newest tools in the entrepreneurship data chest is the recently released 14th annual report of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) from Babson College and its partner universities in Chile and Malaysia. It contains historical analyses, measures of cultural capital for entrepreneurship (e.g. aspirations and fear of failure), data on gender and regional differences, information on the gap between opportunity recognition and entrepreneurial intentions and the differentiation between improvement–driven motives and necessity motivations.
  • The Startup Ecosystem Report: The Startup Genome Project’s first research report on global startup hubs was released in late 2012. It uses data collected from more than 50,000 startups using its proprietary benchmarking tool. Measures are based on criteria such as funding, talent, mindset and startup output. This first report offers a list of the world’s top 20 startup ecosystems. The full title of the report is “The Startup Revolution: The Global Rise of Startup Ecosystems and How They Compare.”
  • The Global Innovation Index (GII): INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) aim with this index for a broad horizontal vision of innovation that is applicable to both developed and emerging economies with the inclusion of non-traditional indicators of innovation. Five input pillars capture elements of the national economy that enable innovative activities: (1) institutions, (2) human capital and research, (3) infrastructure, (4) market sophistication, and (5) business sophistication. Two output pillars capture actual evidence of innovation outputs—knowledge / technology outputs and creative outputs. The report covers 141 economies.
  • Ernst & Young’s G20 Entrepreneurship Barometer: This study tracks yearly survey results from more than 1,000 entrepreneurs across the G20. It seeks insights into the background environment for entrepreneurs, how business failure is perceived, the links between culture and innovation, and the influence of the media and universities as drivers of change.
  • The Global Entrepreneurship Barometer (GEBAR). The Center for Entrepreneurship and Public Policy (CEPP) at George Mason University developed during Global Entrepreneurship Week a rather simple tool to help gauge how entrepreneurship is doing in the world. GEBAR now turns data from more than 130 countries into one number for us to easily understand if entrepreneurship is getting better or worse from year to year. The next launch of the GEBAR will likely coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week in November 2013. Over the coming years, GEBAR promises to be able to tell us in real time if the global economy is engaged in entrepreneurship more or less.

The quality of data sources has been somewhat a matter of contention. As the field attracts more scholars and intellectuals housed in universities around the world, there is greater discipline around data collection methodologies and robust research standards. At the grassroots, programmatic level, these data drive substantial investment of time and resources. For policymakers, it is one of the most important drivers of action to support entrepreneurs as evidenced in the World Bank’s Doing Business report. Next Monday, the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Rio de Janeiro will open with a review of successful government action in response to available data that has guided policymaking from all corners of the globe. The community of scholars helping us to understand what we must measure and how, must get this right—not just because our first mission should be to do no harm, but because, for all of us, data provides us with a sober insight into the impact of our efforts.