Entrepreneurship, a complex and interdisciplinary concept, is difficult to define unambiguously. Entrepreneurial activity perceived as a process consists of successive stages that involve the establishment of a company and its development as well as stabilisation and cessation of its operation. A deeper insight into the nature of the entrepreneurial process is provided by the GEM approach, which studies people, not companies. The aim of the study is to analyse the level of entrepreneurship in Polish society compared to the average of European countries included in the GEM study. The article defines the level of entrepreneurship on the basis of indicators measuring the participation of adults involved in business activity, starting from taking the first steps to set up a firm, through running it, and finally withdrawing from business. In order to understand the essence of entrepreneurship, the motives for starting a business are also analysed, as motivation is an important factor that determines the future of business ventures.