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On January 31st, 2011, the White House announced Startup America, a public/private initiative to rally efforts to accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship in the U.S. by expanding access to capital, creating a national network for entrepreneurship education, enhancing the commercialization of federally-funded innovations and getting rid of tax and paperwork barriers for startups. Given the importance of new firms to America’s economy and the national urgency to create jobs, I take a look this week at what Washington accomplished—leading up to the summer break—in response to the President’s call for action.
As I read this morning’s news about Syrian security forces renewing attacks on the city of Hama, I become even more committed to finding stories of Syrians looking beyond the divides of politics, class and religion, who can help shape the fate of the country and its four-months-long revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.
Now that Peru has inaugurated a new government, the verdict is out on how the Ollanta Humala administration treats entrepreneurs. When the new president presented the names of eight of his cabinet ministers for his presidential mandate which started July 28, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Peruvian entrepreneur Salomon Lerner would be among them.
As we close out 2011, I did not want to forget to applaud the welcome attention this year brought to maximizing the entrepreneurial potential of women. A recent report, Overcoming the Gender Gap: Women Entrepreneurs as Economic Drivers, showed that despite the fact that about 46 percent of the workforce and more than 50 percent of college students are female, they represent only about 35 percent of startup business owners and tend to experience less growth and prosperity compared to firms started by men.
It was an active week for encouraging more startups in the nation’s capital. Take Thursday, December 8th. While I participated in a morning panel discussion on Capitol Hill with U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and others, U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) introduced the bipartisan Startup Act, the White House announced that the Obama administration had committed $2 billion in public and private resources to support job-creating startups, and Startup America Partnership board members—at the White House for their first official board meeting—outlined commitments from more than 50 private-sector partners that amount to over $1 billion over the next three years.
During the “Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship” hosted by President Barack Obama in Washington, DC, in April 2010, it became clear that the seeds of entrepreneurship as an economic development policy and diplomatic tool had been planted. Today, I send in a quick report from the Second Global Summit on Entrepreneurship in Istanbul which has brought together approximately 1200 successful entrepreneurs and leaders from Turkey and across the world for idea sharing under the general theme of “Entrepreneurship, Values and Development: A Global Agenda”. Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hosted the event and US Vice President Joe Biden spoke yesterday.
The world economy has disappointed this year with its jobless recovery and continuing financial instability. Clearly, the country needs more entrepreneurs. A recent poll in the U.S. shows that those ages 18-34--the so-called “Millennial Generation”--are that entrepreneurial bunch. Fifty-four percent of “millennials” either want to start a business or already have started one. And judging by last week’s vibrant Global Entrepreneurship Week, this seems to be a global phenomenon and one driven by people who want to do good and do well.
According to a recent index released by Forbes, many policy changes have made Canada the best country for business. The index evaluates countries on property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, freedom (personal, trade and monetary), red tape, investor protection and stock market performance. Canada jumped three spots from the 2010 survey, getting high marks for Personal Freedom (#1), Red Tape (#3), Investor Protection (#5) and Trade Freedom (#7). It also had a noticeable improvement in its tax ranking—thanks largely to a “Harmonized Sales Tax” and reduced corporate and employee tax rates. Is this resulting in a better climate for Startups?
Regardless of whether American policymakers can ever fix domestic policy to boost entrepreneurship—as in making a Startup Visa happen or removing other barriers that slow the birth of new high growth firms—the nation’s capital will be alive with startup fever next week (November 14 – 18) as Global Entrepreneurship Week takes center stage around the world.
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