Australia is ranked sixth in the world, and first within the Asia Pacific region, in a new ranking of the impact of entrepreneurs on their overall economy from Shopify. Australian entrepreneurs in the Shopify ecosystem generated over $42.1 billion worth of business activity in 2022 and contributed $17.7 billion in GDP impact.

The Shopify Entrepreneurship Index, is a new study in partnership with Deloitte, using data on the millions of entrepreneurs in Shopify’s ecosystem and public data from the IMF, OECD, and World Bank.

“Entrepreneurs are the fuel that drives economies forward. They create jobs, anchor communities and make an impact that goes far beyond their own business,” Shopify president, Harley Finkelstein said.

“Previously, there wasn’t enough public data showcasing the superpowers and impact of entrepreneurship—and that’s why we created the Shopify Entrepreneurship Index. Our goal is to give decisionmakers the insights they need to reduce barriers and make entrepreneurship even more accessible to everyone.”

Australian entrepreneurs are punching well above their weight, ranking third in the world when considering their direct impact on GDP – behind only the US and UK. Countries were also rated on the impact entrepreneurs have on job creation. The Index highlights that Australian entrepreneurs have directly created over 69,000 jobs, and supported over 151,000 jobs in total, ranking Australia 6th, behind the US, Vietnam, India, China and the UK.

Australia’s success, in part, can be attributed to conditions that favour entrepreneurship. Businesses in Australia benefit from the country’s well-developed physical and digital infrastructure and highly skilled workforce. The 2023 United Nations Conference on Trade & Development Technology & Innovation Report ranked Australia first globally for the skills needed to use, adopt and adapt frontier technologies.

“Australia has a digitally savvy population, and retailers have caught onto this by doing innovative things with technology. We see this in the adoption of cutting-edge tools like AI, and virtual reality to enhance the customer experience,” Shopify managing director for APAC and Japan, Shaun Broughton said.

 “Australian entrepreneurs are already at the forefront of using technology to drive growth, so it’s exciting to see the impact that they’re having on the country’s economic impact as a whole.”

Regional and rural entrepreneurship is a major growth opportunity for Australia with seven in 10 (71%) Australian entrepreneurs running their businesses from inside a major city, which is exceptionally high, considering its geographical size. This makes Australia the fourth most-reliant on its major cities, tied with Lithuania and behind smaller countries such Iceland, South Korea, and Colombia.

“Australia is punching above its weight on many fronts, but there’s still significant untapped potential. Australia can further boost its global standing by supporting the growth of more businesses in regional and rural areas,” Broughton added.

“As most of our business activities are concentrated in major cities, it fosters a dynamic atmosphere and creates job opportunities. However, the rise of ecommerce means businesses in regional Australia can now reach the same metro, or even global audience, as their big city peers – while spending much less on property than their counterparts.”