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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.
Israel is one of the most innovative nations on earth. Israelis (approximately 7.6 million in number) are well-educated, have a global outlook, ties around the world, and most importantly, a positive view of entrepreneurship. Most Israeli entrepreneurs understand ways of moving innovations into the marketplace and how to establish themselves as global companies from the get go. It is only natural that there is so much interest around the world in Israel’s entrepreneurship path.
I have just returned today from the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) in Liverpool where a weeklong festival of entrepreneurship floated powerful ideas about everything from seeding startup communities to smarter national top-down policies. This week I take a quick look at last week’s GEC and why it matters as a symbol of the democratization of entrepreneurship.
Late September is always a busy
time in New York and Washington for world leaders. New York is crowded with
heads of state and visionaries at the UN Assembly or the Clinton Global
Initiative, and in Washington, DC, the World Bank Group and IMF
Annual Meetings that took place this past weekend always spur an assortment
of organizations with global economic development missions to gather their
flocks. We all wonder what all these expensive ‘meetings of the minds’ are
accomplishing. To share my own bias, it prompts me once a year to check in and
see how much development bureaucrats are really seeing and listening to the
entrepreneurs on the ground doing the work.
Pressing ahead with its plan to build an entrepreneurial economy, Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance will host the fourth Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) on October 11-12, 2013. With the expected participation of U.S. President Barack Obama and other heads of state, the summit in Kuala Lumpur is set to be a milestone for Malaysia’s quest to become an entrepreneurship hub. I met with the planners in Kuala Lumpur recently to discuss progress.
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?
I returned this weekend from the Aspen Institute’s annual meeting of development entrepreneurs in New York where fresh thinkers were hard at work looking for new approaches to impactful international economic development. USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah sought out the opportunity to present his new vision for his agency, and Carl Schramm, President of the Kauffman Foundation, challenged the traditional strategic and intellectual platform that has driven the tired policies of decades of Washington consensus thinking around how we stimulate global economic growth.
This week, President Obama will turn his focus from budget sequestration to immigration. A new Kauffman Foundation report released last week argues that making 75,000 Startup Visas available for current holders of H-1B and F-1 visas who start companies could create as much as 1.6 million U.S. jobs in the next 10 years. Will Washington act or, if they cannot agree, throw the baby out with the bath water?
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.
The past few months have brought a new series of reports dissecting the job creation phenomenon by new firms, timely at a time when so much of the economic discussion lately in the U.S. has focused on strategies to recover the roughly 8 million jobs lost during this past recession. We already knew that research has firmly established that new firms—those no more than five years old—over the past three decades have been responsible for virtually all of the net new jobs created in the U.S. economy (see 2009 reports “Jobs Created from Business Startups in the United States,” and “Where Will The Jobs Come From?”). As the nation debates this leading up to the mid-term elections in the United States, let’s further examine U.S. job growth and its relationship to startup companies.
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