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The recent announcement of Richard Branson, the world-famous entrepreneur best known for his Virgin brand empire and his passion for adventure sports, as the headline speaker at the upcoming Global Entrepreneurship Congress has generated a significant amount of attention and interest.
The idea of an entrepreneur’s or start-up visa that grants high-skilled immigrants the right to stay if they start job-generating businesses is gaining traction. Last Wednesday, a Wall Street Journal article laid out the case for it and the next day it was discussed both at a meeting I attended on how to boost innovation in the U.S and at the President’s Jobs Summit as a way to create jobs.
Since the economic crisis broke out, entrepreneurship has attracted increased attention as a key path to economic recovery. I was happy to see that entrepreneurs have been set apart from some of the negative perceptions of big business and the blame being placed on large financial institutions for the economic meltdown. The question is whether such recognition of entrepreneurs as an engine for growth and innovation translated into concrete pro-entrepreneurship policies.
Today I am opening the APEC Start-Up Accelerator Leadership Summit here in Taipei. The summit is challenging 30 startups along with 200 top executives and officials from the APEC region to re-think past assumptions about how the public and private sectors can collaborate to build sustainable startup ecosystems in the region.
Most policymakers are starting to both heed entrepreneurs for their job and wealth creation efforts during these tough times as well as pick up on one of our nation’s biggest source of high-growth start-ups: immigrant entrepreneurs. But if public reaction to a recent NPR segment and recent Washington Post commentary on the topic are anything to go by, I fear we have a long way to go to convince the average American citizen.
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.
At a Community College Workforce Alliance meeting today here in Richmond, Virginia, there were clear signs of heightened interest in the role that community colleges can play in advancing entrepreneurship as a means of getting Americans back to work. Following support from President Barack Obama and Startup America, plus a recent announcement of a $1 million grant from the Kauffman Foundation to scale one model to more schools around the country, a new generation of educators appear intent on maximizing the potential of their communities to produce more new innovative firms.
I ended Global Entrepreneurship Week 2013 last week in Moscow just in time to see a GEW-themed bus driving around different universities, schools and gatherings while testing young peoples’ entrepreneurial skills and engaging them in the world of founding businesses. Skeptics in the international community might want to take a closer look at what cities can do – even in environments where there are persistent national barriers to new firm formation.
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