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Today is another historic day for startups and our economies. It is the opening day of the fourth Global Entrepreneurship Week, the world’s largest celebration of the innovators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth, and expand human welfare. In three short years, Global Entrepreneurship Week has expanded to more than 120 countries and this week organizers are expecting nearly 11 million people to show up at over 40,000 planned events and activities.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Welcome to 2012 – a year which, without any official proclamation, will likely be an excellent year for entrepreneurs. In so many respects, advocates in 2011 for startups and entrepreneurs could not have done better in setting up 2012. Better data, more relevant policy and legislation, streamlined programming and more widespread public support should give all reason to be optimistic that more people will take a risk, unleash an idea and make a job. And we should expect even more new developments that will shape even better entrepreneurship ecosystems across the world.
The United Kingdom remains a fierce competitor in the global race to develop the best startup ecosystem in the world. As noted in previous posts, Prime Minister David Cameron is keen for an economic recovery led by new firm formation introducing both policies and initiatives like Startup Britain to accelerate efforts nationwide.
As a lead up to the March 2012 Global Entrepreneurship Congress, I will spotlight here a handful of the 120 nations gathering in Liverpool to develop the best entrepreneurial ecosystems. Today we look at Belarus.
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