Running your own business has its perks — more control, no boss, and choice of working hours.
In the UK and the US, entrepreneurs are associated with startups. But in some countries, becoming self-employed is a necessity rather than a dream. You have to make your own opportunities when there are not many jobs available.
According to research by the UK-based business-networking group Approved Index, the US ranks 41st in the world for having the most entrepreneurs, who make up 4.3% of the adult population. Meanwhile, Britain ranks 37th with 4.6%.
The number is calculated by the percentage of the adult population that owns or co-owns a new business and has paid salaries or wages for three or more months.
The countries with the most entrepreneurs are going through a commercial revolution.
“In countries where the economy is poorer, or where unemployment rates are high, citizens turn to starting their own small businesses where they see opportunity,” Trilby Rajna of Approved Index said. “I am South African and will never forget the makeshift cardboard photo booth pitched outside the traffic department in Cape Town.
“All that was needed was a camera, a portable printer, and a plain wall. People like myself who had forgotten to bring ID photos along for their license were queuing up outside. It was an excellent idea.”
1. Uganda — a massive 28.1% of the population are entrepreneurs, capitalising on the freedom that comes with shirking off decades-long rule by dictatorship. Many of the self-employed are seeing their businesses expand because of the country’s recently laid fiber optic cables that connect even remote villages to the internet.
2. Thailand — 16.7% of the country work for themselves, and transportation is one of the biggest sectors. Tuk tuks, or rickshaws, are staple ways of getting around the city and can earn you a decent wage in tourist-heavy areas.
3. Brazil — 13.8% are entrepreneurs and are predominantly single-person vendors. Almost half of the entrepreneurs are women.
4. Cameroon — 13.7% of the country is self-employed, including many workers in the service and food industries.
5. Vietnam — about 13.3% of the population are self-employed. Vietnam is known for its prolific stalls and “street barbers,” as pictured here.
6. Angola — 12.4% of the population work for themselves. Street sellers, “zungueiros” for males and “zungueiras” for females, make up a large portion of the self-employed. Traffic jams directly help these workers in pushing their products.
7. Jamaica — 11.9% are self-employed, and many are street vendors. The government has pushed for greater adoption of entrepreneurial ideas when it comes to technology.
8. Botswana — 11.1% of the population are entrepreneurs, setting up swaths of stalls to bring in personal business.
9. Chile — This country is considered one of South America’s most stable and prosperous nations, and about 11% of its population choose entrepreneurship. Here a big seminar on Chile-based startups is underway.
This article is published in collaboration with Business Insider. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.
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Author: Lianna Brinded is the Finance Editor based in London.
Image: Traditional Incandescent light bulbs are seen. REUTERS/Michael Dalder.