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I report this week from Africa which is enjoying its greatest economic success in decades and where there has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur. With economic growth rates this year around 6 percent in one-third of the 49 sub-Saharan African countries, the IMF forecasts that Africa will have the fastest-growing economy of any continent over the next five years. The World Bank in turn has reported earlier this month that more than 20 sub-Saharan African countries, encompassing more than 400 million people, have gained middle-income status, while the number of people living in poverty is down by roughly 10 percentage points over the past decade.
Despite the profound impact of the banking sector collapse in 2008 on Iceland’s economy, the island nation ranks 13th in this year’s Global Innovation Index, 14th in the Ease of Doing Business rankings, and 23rd in the Index of Economic Freedom. There has been much debate and disagreement regarding the key steps that put this social-market economy on a path to successful recovery but no one denies the contribution of the more silent actors transforming the economy for the better—its entrepreneurs. I recently sat down in Reykjavik with President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson to learn about the entrepreneurs who are building what they call an “anti-fragile” entrepreneurship ecosystem.
The APEC Startup conference that just wrapped up in Seoul signaled stepped-up interest within the 21 APEC member nations in policies that promote new firm formation as ameans of “booting up” economies. Interestingly, the drive for this effort is being led not by the United States, but by South Korea which has taken big strides over the past two years to rebuild its own startup ecosystem.
On January 31st, 2011, the White House announced Startup America, a public/private initiative to rally efforts to accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship in the U.S. by expanding access to capital, creating a national network for entrepreneurship education, enhancing the commercialization of federally-funded innovations and getting rid of tax and paperwork barriers for startups. Given the importance of new firms to America’s economy and the national urgency to create jobs, I take a look this week at what Washington accomplished—leading up to the summer break—in response to the President’s call for action.
It has been two years this week since the Kauffman Foundation took extensive research and data analysis around new firm formation, crafted a single document, and labeled it “The Startup Act.” Renaming the conversation that PDE had started earlier around how policymakers can make it easier for startups to emerge, create jobs and grow, was very effective in getting policymakers in Washington to take a look at entrepreneurship through the lens of helping new and young firms. But how far has America come in getting something done on their behalf?
February promises to be a busy month in Washington for entrepreneurship policy. Next Tuesday February 8th will see Kauffman’s annual State of Entrepreneurship Address delivered by Carl Schramm followed by Capitol Hill briefings and a host of interesting activity on job creation. Today, I post from an event at the White House where President Obama has just announced a “StartUP America Partnership,” a new initiative aimed at fostering successful innovative, high growth businesses in the U.S. It marks a commitment of the current administration to a national entrepreneurship-based strategy to stimulate economic growth and the creation of quality jobs.
In the 90s, Argentina became Latin America’s Internet center, which was a
good sign of an entrepreneurial spirit among its people. Endeavor,
the United States nonprofit that helps foster high impact
entrepreneurship, had its first success in the developing world in
Argentina just before the country’s last major financial collapse. Given
Argentina’s turbulent economic history, I thought I would take a quick
look at the role of entrepreneurs over the past 10 years since
Argentina’s Internet startup boom.
As part of our ongoing discussion about the globalization of the startup movement, we look today at one nation’s strategy that appears to be very effective. Present at the recently concluded Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Liverpool were the leaders of Start-Up Chile, an almost two-year old initiative that has rapidly gained traction around the world. However, while it carries a similar name to other national initiatives around the globe, it has a very different approach.
As the Defense Department’s public review last Thursday of its war strategy in Afghanistan points to a slow troop withdrawal in 2011, efforts to better understand how to spur growth after such conflicts are speeding into top gear. A new cadre of economists, military leaders and other specialists are writing a long-needed canon to guide how to re-build economies during their transition from war to peace using indigenous entrepreneurship. Expeditionary Economics (ExpECON), as the field is now known, is informing large questions of national security strategy, positioning economic growth as a more important component of the formula for strategic success. While I defer to these experts in assessing the entrepreneurial health of current war-torn economies, I thought it timely to take a look at some of the neighbors engaged in their conflicts.
Unemployment rates in Spain are one of the highest in the developed world, hovering around 25% this year. Worse, for those under the age of 25 the joblessness rate is more than double (57%). On a recent visit to Barcelona, I met a Prince doing something about it.
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