Sunday, July 29, 2012

Entrepreneurs needed

According to a  recent article in The Economist, Europe's failure to nurture entrepreneurs is the ultimate source of its economic problems.

See Les misérables (

Even successful Germany is not immune from criticism. In Germany, one episode of bankruptcy may prevent an entrepreneur from ever holding another senior executive position in a big company. In addition, the entrepreneur may have to wait six years to discharge all bankruptcy debts. Given the high rates of failure of new business establishments, Germany's policies create a powerful disincentive to become an entrepreneur.  Limited venture capital and convoluted labor laws raise additional hurdles.

In the U.S., only about 50% of new businesses still exist after 5 years. This statistic is surprisingly stable across time and the business cycle. If you are interested in more fun facts on the survival rates of new business establishments in the U.S. go to:

 For a pep talk on the importance of entrepreneurs and how to get more of them, see Cameron Herold's TED talk (March 2010):

Questions for Students (pick one):
1. In the article in The Economist, WWII is presented as a pivot point. Before WWII entrepreneurship was a major force in Europe. What changed? Why? How could it be changed back? Show off as many facts as you can.

2. What did you think of Cameron Herold's talk? Take a stab at an entrepreneurial proposal - that you haven't done yet.