Europe is lagging behind the United States and Israel in the number of successful start-ups. Highly innovative start-ups that grow to become global companies the size of Google or Amazon within just a few years are not being founded here. Many of Europe’s countries and regions are experiencing persistent low growth with high unemployment, which is something a boom in new companies implementing new creative ideas could help alleviate. Even in Germany, which has a much better macroeconomic performance, the number of companies being founded has been falling for several years.

There are strong indicators that Europe’s aforementioned weakness when it comes to the starting of new companies may also have a cultural dimension. Regions which are seeing particularly strong numbers of innovative start-ups being founded appear to have a strong entrepreneurial spirit. This policy paper will therefore examine what defines the entrepreneurial culture of successful start-up regions and to what extent different entrepreneurial cultures contribute to the differences in entrepreneurial activity between large areas of continental Europe and other highly developed economies, especially the United States, the United Kingdom, and Israel. This paper will examine both the societal and institutional framework that exists in an entrepreneurial culture and the personality structure of successful entrepreneurs. Following an international comparison of enterprise birth rates, this paper will review the different start-up systems in Europe, the United States, and Israel, which are also expected to have a connection to differences in the availability of venture capital. Finally, this paper considers the role of the education system in transferring business knowledge and entrepreneurship. This is followed by a conclusion in which recommendations are given regarding how to develop an entrepreneurial culture and a willingness to take risks.