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you look in the media these days you see alleged signs of impending economic
doom—from the ‘financial cliff’ threatening to punish United States
policymakers if they can’t reach agreement soon to the Eurozone crisis with the
Greek economy on the edge of collapse. Certainly all very troubling, but it is
only one side of the coin. For the past 10 days, I have seen the other side—a
side full of hope and promise thanks to a burgeoning movement to embrace
Tomorrow, roughly 100 million Americans will cast their vote for one of two men who have stressed the importance of entrepreneurs and of course, small business to the country—and claimed to be the best candidate to empower them. Meanwhile, one week from today, policymakers, researchers and millions of nascent entrepreneurs in 130 countries will be taking matters into their own hands through a collection of 40,000 events, activities and competitions during Global Entrepreneurship Week.
At the Global Entrepreneurial Summit (GES) in Dubai last week, it was clear to me that there is a new level of engagement in developing more entrepreneurial economies at the highest levels of government in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The summit, a collaboration between the U.A.E. Prime Minister’s office and the Obama Administration, was an effort to leverage U.S. strengths in high growth entrepreneurship. Now that the summit is over, we take a look at the challenges before policymakers in the region in making the path easier for even more nascent entrepreneurs to succeed in the future.
This year has afforded me the opportunity to visit dozens of nations and talk with their entrepreneurs. One nation remained elusive to me. In 2011, Thailand participated for the first time in Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) and I was keen to visit in either 2011 or 2012, but despite good faith efforts, I have been unable to make it there, mostly due to the likes of tragic flooding, the worst in 50 years last year for the country. So I turn today to virtual research.
A recent blog by Dan Isenberg from Babson College argues that there has been too much focus on startups around the world and that “infinitely more important is to embed scale-up.” Of course, Dan has a point in that I frequently hear leaders outside the United States lament their lack of billion dollars firms, but I think we are far from the point when we can stop advocating for better support for new starts. Not only is most of the world still focused on size not age of firms—talking “SMEs”—but we still do not know enough about the science of startups and how to best support those that want to scale. As with kids—to play along with Isenberg’s analogy—we have to help firms start better if they are to scale later in life and now is not the time to pull back the throttle on legitimizing founders and startups as a centrepiece of that economy policy.
This week we can expect President Obama to speak to immigration reform and a new immigration proposal to be unveiled in the Senate. I have discussed in this blog the importance of creating a U.S. Startup Visa for high skilled immigrants—but only in the context of America’s loss. We take a look today on what America's loss in terms of brainpower and innovation skills means for one nation—India.
Unless you completely unplugged over the holidays, you know that if Democratic and Republican lawmakers could not bridge their differences on how best to reduce the nation's budget deficit and debt, the Budget Control Act of 2011 mandated a combination of spending cuts and tax increases to take effect January 1, 2013. While Washington kicked the can down the road on budget cuts, the cliff was avoided – but what does the deal mean for American entrepreneurs?
Every year, reports from the World Bank, the OECD and numerous private sector researchers tell us that nations are improving their regulatory environment in terms of reducing the complexity and cost of regulatory processes for starting a business. However, comprehensive reforms to stimulate startup creation are still relatively hard to find. Will the ever-intensifying global race to build strong startup ecosystems from the bottom-up change this?
In his State of the Union Address next week, President Obama will shift gears back to job creation after his inauguration speech focused on wider themes. As the debate about how the government can help the economy regain its pre-recession strength enters a new phase, the Kauffman Foundation’s annual “State of Entrepreneurship Address” last week in Washington, DC, focused on how financial constraints have been blocking the success of new and young firms that create most of the net new jobs.
Since 2005, the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region leads the world in enhancing the business climate for local firms. The region overtook East Asia and the Pacific to become the second most business-friendly, after OECD high-income economies. However, one country, the Ukraine, has been described as the “rotten apple” in the region, comparing unfavorably to its neighboring countries. After meeting the “Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the United States,” I decided to take a closer look.
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