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A tale of two entrepreneurs

on June 27, 2013

Is your startup an IDE or an SME -- and does it matter? The distinction between innovation-driven enterprises (IDEs) and traditional small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) -- and their potential to support long-term economic growth -- is the subject of a recent Kauffman Foundation paper.

Both IDEs and SMEs can create jobs. But successful IDEs, which focus on addressing global markets based on technological, process, or business model innovation, can potentially create thousands of jobs.

“Both SMEs and IDEs are critical to a successful economy, but IDEs are particularly important for accelerating economic growth because of their potential to contribute jobs and advance new innovations,” said Fiona Murray, co-author of A Tale of Two Entrepreneurs. “IDE entrepreneurship must be a major element of government strategy and policymaking, with separate and equitable organizations created to support the success of both types of ventures.”

Despite that, government policies and programs actually tend to favor SMEs, which often produce faster and more visual results. That approach, however, might undermine the success of potential new IDEs.

Weekly Wisdom from Kauffman is a regular feature on eMed highlighting insightful research from the Kauffman Foundation. Do you have a favorite Kauffman research insight that could help life science entrepreneurs? Send it to

Category:  Ideation  Tags:  wisdom, entrepreneur, innovation

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