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I hope that like me, you have had the chance to witness the burgeoning phenomenon of entrepreneurship curriculum in American higher education. More and more, students have the opportunity to explore entrepreneurship on campus. In the process of creating entrepreneurship programs, universities have become more entrepreneurial themselves. This is great news. Colleges and universities are natural incubators of creativity and new ways of looking at things. And this new reality might mean that colleges and universities are better preparing students for success in the American economy where more professionals need to make their own jobs.
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.
According to The Times CEO Summit here in London, Britain is mid-table in the world growth league, but committed to a new rigorous economic agenda. Now that the painful job of drastic budget cuts is underway and an often angry public has aired its grievances, Prime Minister David Cameron appears to be intently focused on new firm formation, the know-how economy, the next digital revolution and private input into “innovating down” health costs. He is determined to protect his AAA Standard & Poors evaluation and keep his economy from heading in the direction of others like Greece.
With more women than men in the U.S. earning PhDs in the biological sciences and estimates that around 15 percent of the U.S. GNP over the next two decades will be comprised of life science activities, it is no surprise that women's entrepreneurship has attracted so much attention recently in both the developed and developing countries. And in many other countries, women's entrepreneurship is even more important as a separate track for cultural reasons.
Last week, a patent reform bill, the America Invents Act (H.R. 1249), passed the House of Representatives. On March 8, the Senate passed a similar patent bill (S. 23) by a broad margin. There is no doubt our patent system is broken with backlogs and litigation, but the bill’s net effect on innovative entrepreneurship is still unclear.
It is time to implement new methods to shake our economy out of this lingering spell of slow growth (a disappointing 2% rate) and high unemployment (hovering around 9%). And while the large federal budget deficit does not leave much room for implementing more traditional economic remedies, the Kauffman Foundation—at a press conference this morning here at the National Press Club in Washington, DC—suggested it is time for legislation. Startup legislation.
Most policymakers are starting to both heed entrepreneurs for their job and wealth creation efforts during these tough times as well as pick up on one of our nation’s biggest source of high-growth start-ups: immigrant entrepreneurs. But if public reaction to a recent NPR segment and recent Washington Post commentary on the topic are anything to go by, I fear we have a long way to go to convince the average American citizen.
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