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Chasing an entrepreneurial dream can be an all-consuming effort. Particularly in those crucial early days of a startup, founders seem to eat, sleep and breathe their businesses. But this heads-down mode is not without its drawbacks, one of which is neglecting to stay up on current events—particularly the happenings that can impact the entrepreneurs who are inadvertently paying no attention to them.
In perusing last week's headlines (and a few stragglers from the week prior), I realized I was drawn to numerous articles pertaining to entrepreneurial support beyond that in the United States. For those who don't know, my work at Kauffman allows me to travel a bit--about 100,000 miles a year to be exact.
A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about President Obama's State of the Union Speech. I observed that entrepreneurial vision was lacking and I wish he had used the occasion to revive bipartisan support for an entrepreneurial agenda that could have given both parties things to support.
I was disappointed to have been unable to make the 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Congress last week in Moscow. It's a historic event, in its fifth year, that gathers startup champions from around the world--entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, thought leaders and policymakers--to work together to help bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare. This kind of annual assembly has contributed to the expansion of a global entrepreneurial ecosystem by connecting experts and entrepreneurs across borders and sectors to unleash their ideas and transform innovation into reality.
Having had my home city represent the bottom of its fair share of "Worst" lists (Hey there, Cleveland!), I meet the ever-popular lists and rankings with a healthy dose of skepticism. All certainly are not created equal and all do not have the best of intentions.
It was a thrill for me last summer when I had the chance to sit down with best-selling author, entrepreneur and teacher, Gifford Pinchot III. For someone like me who has been an entrepreneur and who now works at the foundation for entrepreneurs, to meet the legend who actually coined the term "intrapreneurship" was a real treat. During our visit, I had the chance to ask Gifford about the motivation that led to the publishing of his best-selling book, Intrapreneuring: Why You Don't Have to Leave the Corporation to Become an Entrepreneur, in 1985.
Venture capital certainly has its place within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Some of our nation's largest companies (and employers), like Apple, Google and FedEx, have secured this form of funding. But plenty of Kauffman Foundation research tells us that VC funding isn't as mainstream in startups as one would gather based on its common place in startup news. In fact, less than 20 percent of the fastest growing young companies ever take venture capital money.
As a father of three, I vividly remember those chilly, early-summer mornings of packing bags, loading up the car, and waving a sad goodbye as my children began their latest adventure at the summer camp of choosing. And there were plenty of those mornings over the course of 18 years. There was volleyball camp, and Science Olympiad clinics, and lacrosse camp.
Tuning in for the state of the union (SOTU) address is somewhat of an annual ritual for me. For the past two decades, spanning several presidencies from both parties, I torture myself straining to hear that one word, however challenging it is to say (and spell)--entrepreneur. So I was encouraged when President Obama dropped the "E" bomb early in his 2014 SOTU address, made even more special by the fact that he referenced a woman entrepreneur. And I wasn't alone in my enthusiasm as the twittersphere erupted likewise.
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