The report, which each year provides a comprehensive snapshot of levels of entrepreneurship in Spain and 50 other countries, points to the economic crisis as the underlying reason for a fall in the number of women participating in business start-ups, fewer companies creating spin offs or diversifying, fewer innovative companies, and a drop in exports. Ignacio de la Vega, Director of the International Center for Entrepreneurial Management at IE Business School and Worldwide President of the GEM report, sees the fall in entrepreneurial activity in Spain as bad news for the country. “It’s the result of an exceptionally negative year  in macroeconomic terms. But this year’s GEM report also provides reasons for optimism: last year saw a rise in the detection of investment opportunities, more informal investors involved in funding business projects, and more innovative business models in high-potential sectors.”

Company closures. The 2009 GEM report states that 1.5 million companies in Spain have entered a consolidation phase, which constitutes a 29.7% drop compared to the previous year. Company closures have risen by 53.8% compared to 2008, which translates into the closure of over 400,000 businesses.  56% of the entrepreneurs who closed their businesses cited the economic crisis as the cause. More young people and fewer women. The profile of the average entrepreneur in Spain has seen a drop in age in 2009, the average age now being 36 years old. The impact on women entrepreneurs has been particularly severe, and the difference between levels of entrepreneurial activity of men and women has grown. The crisis has affected both, given that numbers of male entrepreneurs have fallen by 22.1%, while the number of female entrepreneurs has dropped by 35%. Hence the gap has widened, signifying an end to the 2008 trend whereby differences between the sexes was considerably reduced, and almost reached parity.