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Members of Slave Lake Fire and Rescue raise a giant Canadian flag on their ladder truck to welcome residents as they pass through an RCMP check stop prior to returning home on Friday, May 27, 2011.John Ulan

A new survey suggests Canada is one of the top three places in the world to start a business, with a culture that admires its entrepreneurs and the risks that they take.

Canada ranks just behind Indonesia and the United States, according to the newly released survey, which was conducted by GlobeScan and the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland for the BBC World Service in 24 countries around the world.

More than 24,000 survey participants were asked a series of questions about their perceptions of how hard it was to start a business and the way innovation was valued in their country.

The BBC survey said that Canadians generally took a favourable view of entrepreneurs, with 74 per cent of survey participants saying they believed people who started their own businesses were highly valued individuals.

Similarly, 72 per cent of those surveyed said they believed innovation and creativity were also highly valued in Canada.

And two-thirds (66 per cent) of the Great White North survey participants said they believed that people with good ideas were able to put them into practice, suggesting that Canadian entrepreneurs face few barriers when developing something new.

But Canadians were divided on how difficult it is to get a new business going, with 55 per cent agreeing that it is hard to start a new business and 41 per cent disagreeing with the same statement.

These same Canadians were comparatively more modest about their personal entrepreneurial ambitions, with only 53 per cent reporting that they had an idea for starting their own business.

With the high marks afforded to both Canada and the United States, the BBC noted in its survey summary that "North America has among the most entrepreneur-friendly culture of any region."

At the other end of the survey rankings, Russia, Italy, Turkey, Egypt and Colombia were considered the worst five countries to start a business.

According to the survey, only a minority of Colombians (30 per cent) believe entrepreneurs are highly valued and more than two-thirds think it is hard to start a business in their country.

Special to The Globe and Mail