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The Policy Dialogue on Entrepreneurship Informs and connects thought leaders looking to understand policies that help entrepreneurs start companies, create jobs and strengthen the economy. Sign up to receive our weekly update!
Ahead of the Senate Finance Committee’s long-awaited vote on its health care bill, I thought it would be helpful to once more comment on its effect on our entrepreneurs. The status quo in healthcare undermines entrepreneurship: small businesses are paying a higher cost to offer health insurance to their employees because of the smaller size of their workforce and the lack of competition in the small group market. Some entrepreneurs are dropping this benefit entirely not because they don’t want to provide insurance to their employees, but because the survival of their startups requires it. According to one estimate, 52 percent of workers in businesses with less than 50 employees were uninsured or underinsured during 2007. Even worse, many potential entrepreneurs and the talent they need to launch their ventures feel trapped in jobs that offer affordable health coverage for themselves and their families.
I have always liked the story of the CEO who sends two shoe salesmen to Africa. When they report back, one says “Bad news, they don’t wear shoes here”. The other reports excitedly “Wonderful news boss, they have no shoes”.
The Doing Business 2010 report highlighted how the financial crisis has prompted governments to act in areas where regulatory reform may be more difficult and require more time. The report states that in times of recession, “the more quickly the assets of nonviable firms can be freed up, the easier it is to remobilize those assets.” While the U.S. remained ranked 4th in the 2010 ease of doing business list compared to its 2009 rank, other countries have implemented several reforms that improved their ranking. How has the EU fared?
For the past five years, the National Dialogue on Entrepreneurship has helped expand the discourse about how to best to advance innovation and catalyze economic growth beyond “small business” to debates on science, technology, engineering and research. While we will continue to advance discussion driven by developments in the all important innovation economy, the initiative will carry a new name - the Policy Dialogue on Entrepreneurship (PDE). PDE will pick up exactly where NDE left off -– broadening attention to the field of entrepreneurship and connecting thought leaders looking to advance it.
Congress is considering the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009. This new $825 billion economic stimulus package includes $275 billion in economic recovery tax cuts to individuals and businesses over two years, making it clear that the U.S. is relying heavily on entrepreneurs to jumpstart our economy. And they’re right to do so.
Despite it being an election year and a period in American history of great political divide, the prospect that Washington, DC might actually get something done to make the path easier for nascent entrepreneurs and young firms is looking more promising. This past week saw lots of activity at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. First, on January 31st –the one-year anniversary of both the White House Startup America Initiative and the private-sector Startup America Partnership—President Barack Obama sent a “Startup America Legislative Agenda” to Congress. The following day, I took part in an official Senate roundtable on Capitol Hill focused on developing more high-growth entrepreneurship legislation.
Sweden is not waiting for the Global Entrepreneurship Congress next month to devise its strategy for building a strong startup ecosystem. While “number of patents” is only one metric to measure innovation, Sweden thinks it is one of the most important. The 2011 edition of the Global Innovation Index (GII)—developed by the INSEAD eLab which takes into account dimensions such as creativity and efficiency—ranks Sweden second of 125 economies. For the Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012, Sweden came in third position. And, in Thomson Reuters’ “Global Innovators” list, Sweden is the headquarters location of 6 percent of the list’s companies.
Last week, I shared how we should be encouraged by recent developments to ramp up efforts in support of America’s new and young job creators—including legislation put forth by President Obama at the end of January.
Two prominent Japanese professors recently authored the Fukao-Kwon report, which revealed that from 1996-2006, when total employment in Japan decreased by 3.5 million, young, newly established firms and foreign companies were the only ones to create net job growth. This report also suggests that new companies have higher success rates than older, established companies in Japan and that entrepreneurs clearly need to be the central catalysts in Japan’s next chapter. Have the great innovators of the post-war years – Toyota, Nippon Steel, Sony, etc – become so huge and successful that they have lost their propensity to create disruptive new technologies?
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