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Since the economic crisis broke out, entrepreneurship has attracted increased attention as a key path to economic recovery. I was happy to see that entrepreneurs have been set apart from some of the negative perceptions of big business and the blame being placed on large financial institutions for the economic meltdown. The question is whether such recognition of entrepreneurs as an engine for growth and innovation translated into concrete pro-entrepreneurship policies.
Given the momentum gained in 2010 to get policymakers thinking about entrepreneurship, it is reasonable to expect that America’s commitment to entrepreneurship will grow, especially once we see that commitment translated into concrete policy action. Of course, the hope is that those policy actions will be the right ones—inspiring confidence, building up decision-making around risk-taking and investing, spurring new enterprises built on innovative products and services, and along with it, job creation. With that sense of optimism, comes the vision of a global economy finally starting to shake free from a global crisis.
Last Friday, as I was meeting in my office in Washington, DC with Nazeh Ben Ammar, President of the Tunisian American Chamber of Commerce, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, now the former president of Tunisia, was fleeing his country. As my guest awaited word on when the airport would re-open and Lufthansa would be permitted to return him home to his family in Tunis, we talked about his country, entrepreneurship and a new generation of youth in the Arab region.
Colombia is the fifth-largest economy in Latin America in terms of GDP. The country boasts one of the best coffees in the world, rich natural resources, abundant gold and emerald production, and a relatively educated populace. And despite its international reputation for drug cartels and violence, the latest Doing Business 2011 ranking suggests things could be improving. Colombia is ranked number 39 among 183 countries in terms of the ease of doing business.
February promises to be a busy month in Washington for entrepreneurship policy. Next Tuesday February 8th will see Kauffman’s annual State of Entrepreneurship Address delivered by Carl Schramm followed by Capitol Hill briefings and a host of interesting activity on job creation. Today, I post from an event at the White House where President Obama has just announced a “StartUP America Partnership,” a new initiative aimed at fostering successful innovative, high growth businesses in the U.S. It marks a commitment of the current administration to a national entrepreneurship-based strategy to stimulate economic growth and the creation of quality jobs.
In his 2011 State of the Union Address a couple of weeks ago, President Obama talked about the importance of innovation to create the jobs and industries of the future. A few days later, the White House released a new innovation strategy as part of the President’s plan to “win” that future. This strategy said: “America’s future economic growth and international competitiveness depend on our capacity to innovate. We can create the jobs and industries of the future by doing what America does best – investing in the creativity and imagination of our people. To win the future, we must out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.” A few days later the White House, in partnership with the Kauffman Foundation and Case Foundation, launched a Startup America initiative aimed at doing just this.
I report in today from Shanghai where preparations are underway for a major global summit on entrepreneurship at the end of March. The recent events in Egypt have put a spotlight on the role of a younger, well-educated generation of entrepreneurs peacefully channeling expressions of economic freedom. China has been miles ahead in reconciling a strong government with messy entrepreneurialism and offers some useful lessons for Arab nations as they grapple with enabling, rather than blocking, their citizens under the age of 25.
This past Friday I was surrounded by entrepreneurship education leaders from all sectors the Future of Entrepreneurship Education Summit, a gathering held at the University of Central Florida where actors of our entrepreneurship ecosystem met alongside established entrepreneurship educators to discuss current trends and ideas to nourish the entrepreneurship mindset.
In 2009, the Irish economy underwent one of the deepest recessions in the EU, with its economy shrinking by as much as 10%. Late in 2010, Ireland received an €85bn financial rescue package. Clearly, the winner of Ireland´s general elections held on Sunday (according to polls so far Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny) will have a lot on his shoulders. However, if the past is any indication, Ireland has the potential to resurge economically.
We do not have to puzzle long over what ignited the Arab Youth to take over the streets calling for reforms in their governments. The protests have been against long tyrannies, unemployment and have been fueled by the power of social media. The act that triggered the pro-democracy movement in many Arab countries, the self-immolation of a Tunisian in protest over the confiscation of his fruit stand, shows that the events of late are also an uprising against anti-entrepreneurial barriers. Clearly, protesters have issued a call to Arab leaders to not stifle the innovative aspirations of their people--especially the younger generation--which leaders themselves have armed through education and who are now impatient to put their education to good use.
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