This study investigates which countries have the highest potential to achieve entrepreneurial progress. This progress is defined as an entrepreneurial ladder with five successive steps: `never thought about starting a business¿, `thinking about it¿, `taking steps¿, `running a young business¿ and `running a mature business¿. The influences of individual-level and country-level variables on the progression through these stages are analysed. Data from twenty-seven European countries and the United States are used (2007 Flash Eurobarometer Survey on Entrepreneurship). Findings show that in the United States many people think about setting up a business, whereas Europeans are better at achieving higher levels of engagement. Country differences can be explained mainly by levels of risk tolerance and economic development. A country's level of administrative complexity does not play a role, but individual perceptions of this complexity are a hindering factor.