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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!
Having focused last month on efforts to further entrepreneurship abroad leading up to the global Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, this week I wanted to focus squarely on the United States ahead of next month's Global Entrepreneurship Week Partners Forum convened at the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City. Who are some of the leading players in 2010 driving America's startup culture and how does Global Entrepreneurship Week each November enable them to combine voices in underscoring to the American people how entrepreneurs built America?
President Obama has made it a priority to address one of America’s greatest challenges, meeting energy demand in a sustainable way by transforming the ways we produce and consume energy. He assembled a team that could help him in this task, such as science adviser John Holdren, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and energy adviser Carol Browner. Congress in turn is working on climate change legislation that could foster a new wave of energy innovation. Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman have recently unveiled their new energy bill that would introduce fees on carbon emissions. Other recent developments in Washington have included entrepreneurs, which signals a government push to leverage their risk-taking behavior and the power of individual innovators.
Washington has been busy on several fronts important to entrepreneurs these past few months. One we must not forget to reflect on is the recent U.S. Senate approval of a bipartisan-sponsored amendment to the financial reform bill that protects against creating new barriers for high-growth entrepreneurs seeking to raise angel capital. This “Angel Amendment” addressed two of the original provisions in the bill that had the potential of creating regulatory obstacles for entrepreneurs raising angel financing and weakening the pool of angel capital by reducing the number of accredited angel investors.
Haitians have received help from governments, the private sector and the philanthropic community around the world to deal with the awful devastation, but the long term goal of rebuilding a nation and constructing institutions from scratch will require sustained commitment to the country. I can’t think of a better group to enlist in this task than Haitian entrepreneurs. The needs of the businesses affected in this region are extraordinary, but so is their potential to become agents for restoration.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It is inevitable that a healthy economy will create new job opportunities, while also displacing existing jobs, as successful ventures survive and grow while others fail– even in good times. The process of job creation and economic growth relies on the constant “churning” of firms. Even so, new firms are responsible for the large majority of net new jobs in the U.S. From 1980-2005, firms less than five years old accounted for all net job growth in the country. This is why we need to approach labor rules carefully.
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