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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”.
Not too long ago, entrepreneurship education was part of the curriculum of few university programs across the country. In 2003, the Kauffman Campuses initiative started to help seed cross-campus entrepreneurship programs at dozens of American universities, thereby allowing more young people to explore their entrepreneurial potential. Other universities have since moved in the same direction, bringing entrepreneurship education into the mainstream of learning by offering entrepreneurship courses and sponsoring extra-curricular activities, such as business plan competitions. Other institutions, like MIT, have gone even further by helping student scientists commercialize innovations.
If you often find yourself quietly thinking “I know a better way to do this” or “I could create something new that would make this easier for everyone,” you are a potential entrepreneur. Don’t waste that potential. The economy needs you more than ever.
The record number of pro-entrepreneurship legal and regulatory reforms in the past year among the economies studied by the World Bank’s Doing Business project is welcome news during a time of global economic recession. Prioritizing reforms and learning from global best practices hold enormous potential to unleash entrepreneurship. To maximize this potential, leaders must also promote a culture that embraces entrepreneurship.
Welcome to Global Entrepreneurship Week. Throughout this week, I will be reporting in from entrepreneurship policy events around the world. Global Entrepreneurship Week is engaging more than four million participants in 887 countries exploring new venture creation as a career path through mentoring activities, business plan competitions, networking events and other fun activities. It offers an extraordinary demonstration to policymakers that there is a new wave of entrepreneurialism before us and if we want to build economies and make jobs, they must quickly create the most favorable environment possible.
During this past Week I have been “Globe Blogging” and have reported from the road about various Global Entrepreneurship Week (Nov. 16-22) policy events among others from around the world. Entrepreneurs, development organizations, policy leaders and entrepreneurship researchers lent their voices and experiences to some series policy dialogues. When top-level officials engaged in Global Entrepreneurship Week they sent a message to their constituents about the government’s support for entrepreneurship, making young minds even more comfortable with the idea of doing good through the marketplace. Let’s hope decision makers will be motivated to more urgently enact regulatory reforms and advance other polices to bolster their nation’s entrepreneurial climate.
President Obama recently announced that the U.S. government is committed to restoring the nation's leadership in educating children in math and science, and launched a new “Educate to Innovate” campaign. The campaign will bring together teachers, parents, businesses and the media to promote math and science learning. The effort promises to test and launch new ideas to improve math and science education outcomes, and most importantly, our children’s interest in these fields as platforms to tackle many pressing challenges. While the campaign aims at encouraging students to engage in innovation, will it foster innovation among education providers themselves?
The idea of an entrepreneur’s or start-up visa that grants high-skilled immigrants the right to stay if they start job-generating businesses is gaining traction. Last Wednesday, a Wall Street Journal article laid out the case for it and the next day it was discussed both at a meeting I attended on how to boost innovation in the U.S and at the President’s Jobs Summit as a way to create jobs.
Since the economic crisis broke out, capitalism has been under the microscope. Many have blamed evil businesses and market forces for the financial meltdown, and have lost confidence in private-sector engagement strategies for recovery. Luckily, in this country many more have experienced the positive impact of entrepreneurship either directly and indirectly. In a March 2009 survey, 63% of respondents said they “prefer giving individuals the incentives they need to start their own businesses as opposed to allowing the government to create new jobs directly.” A look at the role of new businesses in the economy reveals that it is not a matter of rejecting capitalism but rather of allowing more entrepreneurs into the economy.
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