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It is true that governments cannot be ignored by entrepreneurs—they set the rules and incentives. But it should not be surprising that vibrant entrepreneurs typically show, at best, nonchalance toward government. Most government agencies across the globe remain inefficient and cumbersome—especially when you compare even a well-funded government program to a collection of bootstrapping startups.
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.
Global interest in the emerging entrepreneurial economies of Latin America has been on the rise. It is where Endeavor began—launching in Chile and Argentina in 1997—and more recently, the region’s vibrant cultures have led the likes of Geeks on a Plane and the Global Entrepreneurship Congress to take a closer look. This spring we report back from a few economies in the region.
Of the nearly 4,000 delegates from 153 nations signed up for the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) next week in Moscow, a large number are traveling from Latin America. The region’s startup ecosystems are now firmly part of the global entrepreneurship grid and with such strong delegations expected from cities like Medellín, Santiago and Buenos Aires, it is clear they don’t want there to be any doubt around the world about it.
Following last week’s comments on the Global Entrepreneurship Research Network, I offer a second and final post on matters arising from the government-convened entrepreneurship summit in Kuala Lumpur. The roundtable discussion among “startup policy” experts on October 12 signaled a new chapter in knowledge creation around how governments can better enable their startup communities.
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.
Today marks a new era in entrepreneurial finance as the measure in the 2012 JOBS Act (Jumpstart Our Business Start-ups Act) allowing “emerging growth” companies to ask accredited investors for equity investments publicly (e.g., through social media) without having to register the shares for public trading goes into effect.
Two prominent Japanese professors recently authored the Fukao-Kwon report, which revealed that from 1996-2006, when total employment in Japan decreased by 3.5 million, young, newly established firms and foreign companies were the only ones to create net job growth. This report also suggests that new companies have higher success rates than older, established companies in Japan and that entrepreneurs clearly need to be the central catalysts in Japan’s next chapter. Have the great innovators of the post-war years – Toyota, Nippon Steel, Sony, etc – become so huge and successful that they have lost their propensity to create disruptive new technologies?
Chatter about the promise of Africa is not new. Outside economists have been reminding us about relatively high GDP growth rates; China conspiracy theorists keep us informed about who is buying up the continent’s natural resources; and global aid agencies are constantly rewriting their strategies. What is new is the rise of a new generation of Africans that is actually making things happen.
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