Ireland is Europe’s most entrepreneurial country

Ask some people which country in Europe they think is the most entrepreneurial and few will come up with Ireland. But it´s true. At least by one measure. The Wall Street Journal took data from Dow Jones VentureSource on the total amount of venture capital raised by tech companies, divided by population to get the per capita figure.

And when looking at these data (from 2003 until now), there seems to be a pattern in Europe, WSJ writes. There´s an high-entrepreneurial activity in the northwest, while this activity decreased when going farther east and south. Other entrepreneurial European countries are Sweden, the United Kingdom, Finland, Denmark, The Netherlands, Norway, France, Germany and Switzerland. All of these are Western of Central European countries. And guess where the bottom three countries are located? They are: Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria.

Ireland seems to be a real entrepreneurial country, as it attracted four times as much venture-capital funding per capita as the European average. And it attracted this kind of external funding 650 times as much as Bulgaria! Ireland had 311 venture capital-backed deals since 2013, of which 42% came in 2009 or later. The United Kingdom closed 4208 VC-backed deals, of which 34% came in the so called postcrisis period. When we look at Europe as a whole, the past five years account for almost four in ten VC-backed deals since 2003.

No surprise Ireland is number one
But back to Ireland. It it really such a surprise the country’s number one on this list from the Wall Street Journal? Not really. Ireland has a very attractive corporate-tax rate. Big tech companies like Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Twitter, they’ve all got their headquarters in the ‘Emerald Isle’, as Ireland sometimes is called. According to Noel Ruane, European venture partner for an American venture-capital firm with offices in Ireland, this has it influence on the entrepreneurial state of Ireland. “You have a young, highly educated population that has participated in huge value creation in these companies. That has whetted and fueled their appetite to do the same on their own.”