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The work to support entrepreneurs continues and it reaches a high point this week as Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) launches today in 140 countries with more than 7.5 million participants involved. Thousands of brand new startups are taking their first step this week, while others are driving their next growth phase.
Everyone surely owns an innovative product that has its roots in a university lab, or knows someone that has benefited from the presence of start-ups that formed through the dissemination of knowledge and technologies from the university to the marketplace. Universities have been the lifeblood...
The Chilean economy has been recognized as the most competitive of
Latin America. In general, Chile has been characterized by political and
economic stability and relatively low levels of corruption and offers one of
the most advanced physical infrastructure systems in the region. The potential
and proven track record of this economy has led to Chile’s recent
accession to the OECD as its 31st member and its first member in South
America. Not surprisingly, Chile is often a case study in economic development.
The question is whether its model will show the power of entrepreneurship as an
engine for prosperity?
This year has afforded me the opportunity to visit dozens of nations and talk with their entrepreneurs. One nation remained elusive to me. In 2011, Thailand participated for the first time in Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) and I was keen to visit in either 2011 or 2012, but despite good faith efforts, I have been unable to make it there, mostly due to the likes of tragic flooding, the worst in 50 years last year for the country. So I turn today to virtual research.
Entrepreneurs start and grow companies despite of government. But Chris Schroeder’s new book Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East reveals a quiet, unnoticed revolution in the midst of front page uncertainty surrounding the region after the Arab Spring. The entrepreneurs leading the revolution illustrated in his book have not been waiting for government direction and resources. To the contrary, they have become the leaders.
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.
Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) moved one step further in enlarging the pool of capital available to entrepreneurs when it unanimously voted to propose regulations to allow unaccredited U.S. investors to invest in startups and small businesses for equity, as set out in Title III of the JOBS Act. I took a look at reactions to this latest step and how it compares to a couple of other nations on a similar mission.
The JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act is one small step away from becoming law after its fast passage in Congress and President Obama has given reassurance that he will sign the bill when it gets to his desk this week (probably Thursday). The passage of the JOBS Act last Tuesday during a politically charged time is proof that entrepreneurship promotion is a bipartisan issue. As the clock moves relentlessly toward November, both sides of the aisle found common focus and set out to solve the entrepreneurial access to capital problem. The American public should be proud of how functional Washington was these past few weeks.
As another November fades into our rearview mirror, we are again reminded that the phenomenon of entrepreneurship is not something that belongs to any one particular community or country. Economies that have been historically less supportive of capitalism—like Venezuela or Iran—are seeing the rise of strong entrepreneur-led startup communities. And equally as important, those communities are bolstered by increasing support from policymakers, academics, investors, media and other startup champions.
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.
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