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As elections approach and there is a lot of debate on which is the best road to a robust economy with more jobs, policymakers should take time to listen to the message of the just-released Kaufman Foundation videos on the benefits of high-skilled immigration. With Washington being unwilling to separate the obviously different issues of high-skilled immigration and how to handle illegal immigrants, a net job gain strategy remains hostage to politics as usual in the nation’s capitol.
I recently returned from Brazil, the world’s sixth largest economy, where President Dilma Rousseff, a former Marxist revolutionary, is using pro-growth incentives such as lower interest rates, proposed tax cuts and infrastructure investment to fuel her nation’s quest for sustained economic growth and help more Brazilians stand on their own two feet. That Rio will host the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in March 2013 is obviously important for Brazilians. It might be more important for the rest of world.
Argentina has been in the news lately for its expropriation of a Spanish oil company and other strong regulatory interference, such as price and import controls. With this image reflected in the media, we decided to check back on activity that Argentine entrepreneurs and the organizations that support them are carrying out to sustain and promote entrepreneurship.
While the world gathered in New York last week for the Clinton Global Initiative and UN General Assembly meetings, I elected to accept an invitation to head out of town to check up on progress with one of the world’s “strong government” economies grappling with how to reconcile a tradition of top-down government control with a desire for bottom up organic startup communities.
I report this week from Africa which is enjoying its greatest economic success in decades and where there has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur. With economic growth rates this year around 6 percent in one-third of the 49 sub-Saharan African countries, the IMF forecasts that Africa will have the fastest-growing economy of any continent over the next five years. The World Bank in turn has reported earlier this month that more than 20 sub-Saharan African countries, encompassing more than 400 million people, have gained middle-income status, while the number of people living in poverty is down by roughly 10 percentage points over the past decade.
When I asked two U.S. Senators from different parties earlier this year how they managed to work together on startup legislation during an election year, both talked of “credible, robust data” as their starting point. Last week I participated in the International Council for Small Business (ICSB) 3rd Annual Global Entrepreneurship Research and Policy Conference at George Washington University to see what was emerging outside the United States.
While politicians are out of town campaigning, the nation’s capital has been welcoming leaders in entrepreneurship education from America’s colleges and universities. Following a warm up from the younger “Empact” entrepreneurship education advocates, I joined a packed summit of university and community college presidents at the White House put together by the Commerce Department’s Nish Acharya, and then spoke this past Friday at Jeff Reid’s Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers conference at Georgetown University. It is increasingly clear that America’s colleges and universities have been retooling as engines of entrepreneurship and innovation.
One of the major supporters of DEMO Africa and LIONS@frica with me in Nairobi last week was Nokia. As I took a look at just how much innovation Nokia has created, I was curious to look further into the current startup culture in its home country of Finland and see just how important high-growth entrepreneurship is to its economy.
Today marks the official opening of Global Entrepreneurship Week, now celebrated in 131 countries. Throughout this week, roughly 25,000 partner organizations will be actively engaged in holding 35,000 events, activities and competitions--engaging more than 7 million participants and equipping them with the skills and connections to take the next step in their entrepreneurial journey. But GEW is more than just a celebration, it is attracting new talent to the field and supplementing grassroots startup energy with top down endorsements that legitimize entrepreneurship.
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