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While entrepreneurs can be found anywhere, I take particular interest in what the most populous countries are doing to comb their citizens for entrepreneurs. Italy is the sixth most populous country in Europe, and the twenty-third most populous in the world. It also has the world's seventh-largest nominal GDP. Unfortunately, it also has the sixth highest government budget and a large public deficit, such that the economic confidence crisis in the Euro zone that sparked in Greece put a spotlight on Italy´s economy, which faces similar insolvency risk. With Italy´s public debt around 120 percent of GDP and growing, policy options are increasingly constrained. Fortunately, spurring entrepreneurship is not necessarily expensive (although it does take political commitment) and is a proven source of economic energy.
We do not have to puzzle long over what ignited the Arab Youth to take over the streets calling for reforms in their governments. The protests have been against long tyrannies, unemployment and have been fueled by the power of social media. The act that triggered the pro-democracy movement in many Arab countries, the self-immolation of a Tunisian in protest over the confiscation of his fruit stand, shows that the events of late are also an uprising against anti-entrepreneurial barriers. Clearly, protesters have issued a call to Arab leaders to not stifle the innovative aspirations of their people--especially the younger generation--which leaders themselves have armed through education and who are now impatient to put their education to good use.
It is an important week for entrepreneurship around the world, especially here in China where we recently wrapped up the Kauffman Foundation-led Global Entrepreneurship Congress, bringing together impressive leaders in the field from over 100 nations. In addition to launching and recognizing more than 100 national campaigns to promote entrepreneurship through this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week (scheduled for November 14-20), we have witnessed this week entrepreneurship as a burgeoning phenomenon from Chile to China.
Despite political moves that have been making foreign businesses and investors in Venezuela nervous in the past few years, entrepreneurship has managed to survive. For many Venezuelans, entrepreneurship is a way of facing the prolonged political and economic troubles in many sectors of the economy, as the Washington Post article “With Chávez, Some Venezuelan Entrepreneurs See Opportunity” explained when the President won re-election.
America’s fiscal health remains currently at the heart of most economic policy chatter. We are living in tight fiscal times. Congress has been focusing on reaching agreements on reducing spending and budget battles are expected to wage on throughout much of this year. Since balancing the budget is inseparable from tax policy, we take a quick look this week at how taxes shape incentives for entrepreneurs.
This week, I was invited to join the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Trade Ministerial in Big Sky, Montana. This regional bloc meeting remains one of the most important venues for discussing global economic policy. It is also one that has paid attention to the role of entrepreneurs in achieving its goals of trade and cooperation for growth.
I hope that like me, you have had the chance to witness the burgeoning phenomenon of entrepreneurship curriculum in American higher education. More and more, students have the opportunity to explore entrepreneurship on campus. In the process of creating entrepreneurship programs, universities have become more entrepreneurial themselves. This is great news. Colleges and universities are natural incubators of creativity and new ways of looking at things. And this new reality might mean that colleges and universities are better preparing students for success in the American economy where more professionals need to make their own jobs.
One hundred years of banked future hydrocarbon revenues, massive investments in higher education and a common legal framework based on western law all offer this small nation—the size of Connecticut—tremendous potential to be a hub for startups in the GCC. I find it curious therefore that at Qatar’s famous “Doha Forum” I participated in today, entrepreneurship and startups were not on the agenda.
According to The Times CEO Summit here in London, Britain is mid-table in the world growth league, but committed to a new rigorous economic agenda. Now that the painful job of drastic budget cuts is underway and an often angry public has aired its grievances, Prime Minister David Cameron appears to be intently focused on new firm formation, the know-how economy, the next digital revolution and private input into “innovating down” health costs. He is determined to protect his AAA Standard & Poors evaluation and keep his economy from heading in the direction of others like Greece.
With more women than men in the U.S. earning PhDs in the biological sciences and estimates that around 15 percent of the U.S. GNP over the next two decades will be comprised of life science activities, it is no surprise that women's entrepreneurship has attracted so much attention recently in both the developed and developing countries. And in many other countries, women's entrepreneurship is even more important as a separate track for cultural reasons.
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