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Why Entrepreneurship Education is So Important in Countries like Spain, and Around the World

Donna KelleyBy Donna Kelley, Babson College Professor of Entrepreneurship, Board Member and researcher, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM)

Though still considered a leading European financial and technological hub, Spain was not immune to the 2008 recession and its lasting effects.

Entrepreneurship rates declined from 2008-2010, with only a slight uptick thereafter, and societal attitudes about the presence of entrepreneurial opportunities plunged, starting in 2007, and bottoming out in 2012.

While entrepreneurship rates in Spain have yet to return to their pre-recession levels, the latest Babson-sponsored Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report shows a slight tick upward in 2017, that, together with increased societal attitudes about entrepreneurial opportunity, suggest that we may be able to expect improvement in entrepreneurship in Spain in the years to come. This, though, would require added support and promotion of entrepreneurs across the country, and a boost in local entrepreneurship education.

In April, Babson College, the preeminent institution for entrepreneurship education, will bring its premier global business summit to Spain.

Madrid, SpainThe 4th annual Babson Connect: Worldwide is set to convene renowned figures in international business, as well as the global Babson College community, for a compelling exchange of ideas and insights. Together, they will not only celebrate the ways Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® positively transforms business, societies, and lives, but will also discuss how to address some of the most complex social, economic, and political challenges facing humanity.

Babson has long had a presence in the region. Many faculty members and broader executive education initiatives have for years worked to infuse Babson’s renowned entrepreneurship education locally, one company, one organization, and one entrepreneurial individual at a time. By bringing Babson Connect: Worldwide to Spain, the College hopes to continue to increase such efforts by raising awareness about Babson and entrepreneurship, and their combined potential of creating great economic and social impact around the world.

Learn more about Babson Connect: Worldwide and register to attend

More from the latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM)


  • 74 percent of entrepreneurs around the world have started businesses in pursuit of an opportunity rather than out of necessity
  • Nearly 70 percent of adults globally believe that entrepreneurs are well regarded and enjoy high status within their societies
  • 43 percent of the global population see good opportunities around them for starting a business within the next six months
  • Entrepreneurs aged 25-34 and 35-44 are the most active entrepreneurs globally
  • 50 percent of entrepreneurs in innovation-driven economies (i.e. Spain, U.S.) work in information and communications, financial, professional, and other services

Spain GEM data

  • More than 50 percent of adults in Spain see entrepreneurship as a good career choice
  • Total early-stage Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) is low in Spain, and Europe as a region (six percent and 8 percent respectively)
    • TEA rates among women in Spain are close to the European average, while men are starting businesses at rates lower than men in Europe
    • As a result, there are over eight women entrepreneurs for every 10 men entrepreneurs in Spain, while in Europe, on average, there are just over six women entrepreneurs for every 10 men entrepreneurs
  • 60 percent of adults in Spain are undeterred by fear of failure
  • 32 percent see good opportunities around them for starting a business
    • In Spain, a higher proportion of those who start businesses are motivated by necessity. This represents the potential for promoting and supporting opportunity-driven entrepreneurs
    • Along with an increase in opportunity-driven entrepreneurs, Spain could benefit from a focus on generating growth-oriented entrepreneurs and those introducing innovations (under 10 percent of entrepreneurs expect to create six or more jobs in the next five years, and only 25 percent are offering products or services that are new to all or some of their customers)
  • Less than six percent have any current intentions to become an entrepreneur

Europe GEM data

  • Regionally, Europe demonstrates the second highest rate of opportunity-driven entrepreneurs (75 percent), below North America (83 percent)
  • Yet, Europe also demonstrates the lowest regional TEA rates (8 percent)
  • 41 percent of adults in Europe perceive good opportunities around them for starting a business
  • 43 percent believe they have the capabilities to start a business
  • Of existing entrepreneurs in Europe, 19 percent expect to create six or more jobs in the next five years
  • The lowest women’s TEA rates are seen in Europe (six percent) where only six women are engaged in entrepreneurship for every 10 men doing the same