In his recent Newbiz column, Samuel Fromartz examines some of the findings in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor.

On totally original ideas:

[Only] 27 percent of [startups] were pursuing an idea that was “not new to any customer.”

Start-ups considered most innovative — pursuing an idea “new to all” in a market with “no competitors” — amounted to only 4 percent of the total.

“The grass-roots entrepreneurs are companies that take something someone has done before and do it better, or cheaper, or offer better service,” Bill Bygrave, co-author of the study, said. “That’s the core of the economy.”

On finding startup capital:

The survey found informal capital — raised from families, friends and private investors — amounted to $108 billion in the United States. Venture capital amounted to $21 billion.

Fromartz concludes that “highly innovative ideas are rare, whereas modest ideas backed by friendly capital might very well be the root of a successful business, if not the economy.”

I linked to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor a few days ago.