The path of change-makers: according to the Oxford English Dictionary, an entrepreneur is "a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope for profit." The word originates from the French 'entreprendre' which means 'to undertake'.

Author:Scheuringer, Carina
Position:Business: entrepreneur special


Drivers of growth

The Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011, published by the World Economic Forum, ranked Switzerland as the most competitive country in the world due to its "excellent capacity for innovation and [its] very sophisticated business culture." When it comes to innovation, no single role is more significant in economic terms than that of the entrepreneur. The engines of growth, entrepreneurs form the backbone of sustainable capital development and economic recovery, shaping markets and economies by fostering competition and driving development--and, above all, by generating employment opportunities.

The School of Business Administration in Fribourg recognises their importance and has been conducting annual surveys on global entrepreneurial attitudes, activities and aspirations for the past 12 years. In 2010, their Global Entrepreneurship Monitor analysed 59 economies around the world and concluded that "some 110 million people between 18 and 64 years [of age] were actively engaged in starting a business. Another 140 million were running new businesses that they started less than 3.5 years earlier." 7.7 per cent of Switzerland's adult population fell into the above two categories. Despite the economic crisis, the number of active entrepreneurs in Switzerland has been steadily increasing since 2005. In a list of comparable countries, Switzerland was named the sixth most entrepreneur-driven economy in 2010, behind the United Arab Emirates, Iceland, Greece, Norway and the US.

Promoting entrepreneurship

With the threat of a new recession looming, the role of governments in nurturing and fostering entrepreneurship has never been more important. A company fully committed to promoting the creators of new business, Big 4 firm Ernst & Young published a report on this topic last October for the G20 Young Entrepreneur Summit in Nice. Entrepreneurs speak out: a call for action to G20 governments makes a case for governments to build healthy, high-performance enterprise environments for entrepreneurs, through effective policies, regulations and incentives.

On a corporate level, Ernst & Young leads by example, assuming the role of "a world leader in advising, guiding and recognising entrepreneurs." With its Entrepreneur of the Year Award[R] programme, the firm pays tribute to extraordinary individuals and companies around the globe. In its 25th year worldwide, the programme has been in existence in Switzerland since...

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