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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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
In two weeks, Global
Entrepreneurship Week kicks off with more than 40,000 events spread out over
a seven day period in 123 countries. At competitions like Startup Open for the
most promising new startups in 60 countries, to tournaments for cleantech ideas,
at stadiums where entrepreneurship will meet music and sports, from heads of
state to high school competitions, Global Entrepreneurship Week has become a
movement for the next generation of startups and entrepreneurs inspired by the
possibility of human endeavor for the benefit of all.
Malaysia transformed itself from a producer of raw materials in the 1970s into an upper-middle income country with a multi-sector economy by the late 1990s. The 1997 crisis significantly challenged this technology-exporting country, but it has since successfully sparked two main sources of economic resilience—foreign investment and new firm creation. To my surprise, Malaysian entrepreneurs I spoke with recently gave a great deal of credit to, of all actors on the stage, their government. Did government really do something right?
The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) recently released data indicating that domestic credit to the private sector in Saudi Arabia recorded one of their highest growth rates since the global fiscal crisis. That the Gulf Kingdom’s twelve (12) commercial banks are easing credit curbs is good news for entrepreneurship promoters in the country and leaders in the Kingdom seem ready to provide the fuel to ignite a new wave of startups.
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