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  • Author: METRO Office EU Affairs

METRO study highlights entrepreneurial gap for independent businesses

One of METRO’s core missions is to stay close to its independent business customers and to support them with their work, specific needs and challenges. On the occasion of the 2nd Own Business Day, METRO has commissioned an international study focusing on key aspects of entrepreneurship.  


The aim of the study is to better understand the general public’s attitudes towards entrepreneurs while helping business owners grow by providing them with tools to tackle the challenges they face. 10,000 people in 10 different countries (China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Romania, Russia and Turkey) participated in the study.

48% of the participants expressed their interest in starting their own businesses. Many would believe that money, profit and status would be the main reasons for this but the study shows that there are other more important key motivators: Freedom, independence, drive to pursue one’s passion and self-fulfilment. The majority of people expressing an interest in establishing their own businesses are young, well-off and urban. 89% of business owners (9 out of 10) replied they would start their businesses again if they could go back in time, as they benefit from being their own boss, earning a living by doing something they are passionate about, as well enjoying greater flexibility and responsibility. 83% of all participants said they would be proud if their children started their own businesses.

The results of the METRO study clearly demonstrate that independent businesses are highly valued and respected, especially because they contribute economically and to the community. This broad support could be attributed to three main factors: People’s wish to support businesses run by the local community, the belief that independent businesses offer better quality and the preference for buying from people, who they know personally.   

Despite the positive perception of entrepreneurship, there are still many barriers that keep people from starting their own businesses. These include lack of financial support, unstable economic environment, taxation and bureaucracy. Especially in Italy and Romania, general economic situation and taxation were flagged as two major concerns. On the other hand, financing, economic situation, little personal financial security and decrease in disposable income were cited as main obstacles in Germany.

As a matter of fact, these barriers increase the entrepreneurial gap, a discrepancy between those wanting to create a business and those who think it is likely. Nearly half of all non-business owners surveyed would like to own a business, but only a few will take the plunge, as the average likelihood of starting a business is 13%. Most EU countries, such as Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic, scored below this threshold. Only two countries –China and Portugal – ranked higher than the average.

The METRO study furthermore highlights that policy has an important role to play by creating a level playing field for small independent firms, which are disproportionately affected by regulatory barriers or high taxes. Political actors shall, thus, play a bigger part and act responsibly to improve the conditions for independent businesses, especially when it comes to facilitating access to finance, skills and technological knowledge.

“Unlocking the entrepreneurial potential will only be possible if the right framework is in place and the necessary support is given. METRO wants to contribute to this alongside our broader aim to be champion for independent business.”


Olaf Koch, Chairman of the Management Board of METRO AG.

The METRO International Own Business Study targets all independent businesses, including 21 million professional METRO customers. The company has established the Own Business Day as an annual international event on the second Tuesday of each October.

METRO Office EU Affairs

Information about the author

METRO Office EU Affairs is the team in the Representative Office of METRO AG in Brussels. Brussels@metro.de