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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?
The APEC Startup conference that just wrapped up in Seoul signaled stepped-up interest within the 21 APEC member nations in policies that promote new firm formation as ameans of “booting up” economies. Interestingly, the drive for this effort is being led not by the United States, but by South Korea which has taken big strides over the past two years to rebuild its own startup ecosystem.
The creative genius among the young is perhaps one of the least-tapped resources in many economies, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. If given the opportunity to explore entrepreneurship as a career path and a business-friendly environment, young people can unleash their potential—creating gains for all in terms of quality of life, employment and wealth generation. This Friday, I will get a first-hand look at some of that potential as I moderate part of the African Innovation Summit—sponsored by the U.S. Department of State in coordination with Meridian International Center—that will welcome more than 60 young African entrepreneurs to Washington, DC. And later this year, thanks to a new partnership, we will see some of the continent’s most promising entrepreneurs compete during Global Entrepreneurship Week.
At a Community College Workforce Alliance meeting today here in Richmond, Virginia, there were clear signs of heightened interest in the role that community colleges can play in advancing entrepreneurship as a means of getting Americans back to work. Following support from President Barack Obama and Startup America, plus a recent announcement of a $1 million grant from the Kauffman Foundation to scale one model to more schools around the country, a new generation of educators appear intent on maximizing the potential of their communities to produce more new innovative firms.
I recently returned from Brazil, the world’s sixth largest economy, where President Dilma Rousseff, a former Marxist revolutionary, is using pro-growth incentives such as lower interest rates, proposed tax cuts and infrastructure investment to fuel her nation’s quest for sustained economic growth and help more Brazilians stand on their own two feet. That Rio will host the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in March 2013 is obviously important for Brazilians. It might be more important for the rest of world.
Argentina has been in the news lately for its expropriation of a Spanish oil company and other strong regulatory interference, such as price and import controls. With this image reflected in the media, we decided to check back on activity that Argentine entrepreneurs and the organizations that support them are carrying out to sustain and promote entrepreneurship.
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