South Korea's global entrepreneurship index (GEI) moved up three notches in 2018 from last year on a solid improvement in the attitudes of those engaged in business activities, a report by a local think tank showed Sunday.
The findings by the Korea Small Business Institute (KOSBI) showed that Asia's fourth largest economy climbed from 27th to 24th out of 137 countries checked.
The numbers are based on data released by U.S.-based Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute.
South Korea's GEI score for this year stood at 54.2, a 3.5 point gain from 50.7 in 2017.
KOSBI said the improvement comes as the country's entrepreneurial attitude rose the 10th fastest in the one-year period among economies examined. Attitude forms one of the bases for the index, along with the abilities and aspirations of the general population.
The local institute said that while there have been improvements, South Korea still trails rivals in such critical areas as preference for entrepreneurship as a occupation. In this field, the country came in 49th among the 52 economies checked.
The country also did not score high in terms of proportion of entrepreneurs who set up their business because they saw an opportunity versus those just wanting to eke out a livelihood.
The latest data said the country remained weak in both the capability of local companies to make inroads abroad and overall financial conditions facing firms.
The "internalization" rate of local companies stood at 0.32 compared to a 0.68 average for all members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The financial soundness of companies stood at 36th of the 54 economies that were examined.
The think tank, which aims to support sustainable development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), said there must be a concerted effort to encourage entrepreneurial activities, as well as steps to provide greater opportunities for local firms to go abroad. It said South Korea further needs to build up its venture capital sector to allow for a smooth flow of funds to SMEs. (Yonhap)