“Prime Minister Launches Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Report on Tonga”


(30 July 2010)

“Prime Minister Launches Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Report on Tonga”

The Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon Feleti Vaka’uta Sevele, launched the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Report on Tonga at a short ceremony on 26 July at the International Dateline Hotel, after receiving an official copy from Dr. Leon Fourie, Dean of the Faculty of Creative Industries and Business, and Malia Talakai, Acting Director, Pacific Centre for Learning, Teaching and Research, of UNITEC, Auckland.

The GEM Reports provide the most comprehensive comparative data about attitudes towards entrepreneurs, start-up business activities, and plans for starting and building businesses globally, by geographic region and by country.

GEM 2009, which included Tonga for the first time, is a study of 54 countries, based on more than 180,000 interviews. The research in Tonga was done by a team from UNITEC assisted by the Department of Statistics of the Tonga Government and funded by AusAID. The team surveyed 1,184 adults in the Adult Population Survey and 25-30 people, Tongans and non-Tongans, participated in the National Experts Survey and Interview.

GEM 2009 ranked Tonga 10th overall, out of the 54 countries surveyed. Tonga ranked 1st in terms of “Fear of Failure rate”, which is the measure of the percentage of the population with positive perceived opportunities who indicated that fear of failure would prevent them from setting up a business. In terms of “nascent entrepreneurship rate”, Tonga ranked 4th; “early-stage entrepreneurship activity rate” – 10th; new business ownership rate– 15th; overall entrepreneurial activities rate– 16th. But in terms of “established business ownership”, Tonga ranked 49th indicating an inability to sustain growth and suggesting a lack of understanding of entrepreneurship at a later stage.

The GEM Report on Tonga also identified 17 National Policy areas concerning factors constraining entrepreneurial activity in Tonga and it goes to make specific recommendations on what can be done by Government and other support institutions to ease those constraints.

Under “Education and Training”, GEM Tonga states, “Lack of education and training represents a major concern. This situation is the result of insufficient understanding of business as a concept. It can also be attributed to: lack of business skill training; the absence of business studies from both primary and secondary school systems; and an ill-equipped work force.” It goes on to recommend amongst other things, the introduction of business studies and skills into the primary and secondary school curriculum.

On launching the Report, the Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon Feleti Vaka’uta Sevele, acknowledged the major contribution of UNITEC and AusAID to its production. He also thanked UNITEC for outlining the constraints faced by budding entrepreneurs in Tonga and the specific recommendations to ensure a more enabling environment.

The Hon Prime Minister also said that despite what the report says in parts, the Government of Tonga has been, and will continue to be, supportive of developing entrepreneurship and the private sector in Tonga. He also said that it should be noted that Tonga under the present Government is now ranked the number one Pacific Island nation in the “ease of doing business” survey recently conducted by the World Bank.


————————————————————————————————————Issued by:  The PMO Website Bureau, Prime Minister’s Office, P.O. Box 62, Nuku’alofa, Tonga.

Telephone:  (676) 24 644     Fax:  (676) 23 888   Email: pmomail@pmo.gov.to

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