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I report in today from Shanghai where preparations are underway for a major global summit on entrepreneurship at the end of March. The recent events in Egypt have put a spotlight on the role of a younger, well-educated generation of entrepreneurs peacefully channeling expressions of economic freedom. China has been miles ahead in reconciling a strong government with messy entrepreneurialism and offers some useful lessons for Arab nations as they grapple with enabling, rather than blocking, their citizens under the age of 25.
This past Friday I was surrounded by entrepreneurship education leaders from all sectors the Future of Entrepreneurship Education Summit, a gathering held at the University of Central Florida where actors of our entrepreneurship ecosystem met alongside established entrepreneurship educators to discuss current trends and ideas to nourish the entrepreneurship mindset.
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.
Even during this bruising recession, risk-taking entrepreneurs in the developing world seem to be seeing opportunities to leapfrog others and create advantage. And, as the Kauffman Foundation’s Carl Schramm recently argued in an article in Forbes magazine, I am not just talking about mobile technology in Africa.
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.
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