Regional Policy Makers in Europe Call for More Entrepreneurship

As with their colleagues across the globe, European Union leaders are keenly interested in entrepreneurial ecosystems and see the regional level as a good approach.

A recent release from the European Committee of the Regions:

With its new start-up and scale-up initiative the European Commission (EC) wants to give Europe’s innovative entrepreneurs every opportunity to grow and become successful worldwide, paying attention to the need for regionally interconnected EU-wide clusters and ecosystems.

” We have to work together and be even more ambitious and proactive if we want to build strong entrepreneurial ecosystems in our cities and regions. If companies find the right framework locally they can be successful globally. That’s why we need to create the right circumstances to allow the next generation of success stories to grow in Europe, stimulating growth and development across the entire Union “, said rapporteur Tadeusz Truskolaski (PL/EA), Mayor of Białystok.

Later, they offer a laundry list of policies:

Suggests to create new opportunities through:

  • Creating a start-up visa and a catalogue of conditions enabling a safe use of qualified intellectual and financial capital from third countries
  • Additional funding for start-ups to develop and protect intellectual property rights
  • Expanding the Enterprise Europe Network’s (EEN) range of services including advice on scaling up and cooperating more with local business incubators, science and technology parks
  • Creating a separate instrument dedicated to networking projects in less-developed regions
  • Encouraging new public procurement procedures exploiting the potential of start-ups and scale-ups

Welcomes the EC’s suggestions to facilitate access to finance through:

  • Establishing a European venture capital fund of funds
  • Creating innovation brokers linking buyers interested in innovative public procurement with innovative companies and helping them to access venture capital
  • Increasing the budget for COSME, the EU’s main instrument supporting the competitiveness of SMEs
  • Looking into the opportunities of and a regulatory framework for crowdfunding platforms

The piece goes on to mention three regions in Europe that have been recognized for their work building their entrepreneurial ecosystems.

To support regional entrepreneurship the CoR has created the European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) award that yearly identifies and rewards three EU regions which show an outstanding and innovative entrepreneurial policy strategy, irrespective of their size, wealth and competences. For this edition Central Macedonia, Ile de France and the Northern and Western Region of Ireland convinced the EER jury with their credible, forward-thinking and promising plan for the year 2018.

Entrepreneurship policy is the holy grail that all are searching for. The challenge, in my humble opinion, is that policy generally follows entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. Not the other way around.

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Startup Gospel and Ecosystems in Alaska

Ever since reading Jack London, I’ve wanted to go to Alaska. Looks like July is the time toklondike_puppy go as its Alaska Startup week and there are events throughout the state, from lean startup workshops to pitch competitions. 2017 is the Year of Innovation in Alaska. From Naomi Klauda at the Alaska Journal of Commerce:

The seasonal cycle featured the Innovation Summit in Juneau Feb. 15-16, the online Alaska Business Model Competition Feb. 4, the Alaska Business Plan Competition in April, the techy Interior HackaThon in Fairbanks and the fall Arctic Innovation Competition.

“You can enter at any point, but it starts with seeding the idea — there’s a total of six that we make a point of highlighting that illustrates a cycle,” Shepherd said.

Startup week or Startup Weekend offers immersion into ideation.

“Within one year you could go from idea to launch with $60,000 in investments,” Shepherd said. “To launch right here in Alaska means you no longer have to go anywhere else from idea to launch.”

It is quite amazing, but not surprising, to see that people (entrepreneurs, policy makers, educators, etc) are setting about building an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Alaska. There is likely no place in the US that retains so much of Turner’s Frontier as Alaska – but I’ll have to go next July to find out. For more on Turner’s frontier in the entrepreneurial age, check out my recent paper — Small Business Economics: An Entrepreneurship Journal or SSRN version.

Figuring out America’s Character

As we enter the hot summer months and I push deeper into research around the great American Research University, notions of national systems and character continue to play a role. Much of my work uses Frederick Jackson Turner and his frontier theory — see my recent paper on Universities and entrepreneurial ecosystems here; SSRN version here).

people_plentyOf late, I’ve been reading David Potter’s People of Plenty: Economic Abundance and the American Character. Not sure how I found it, but it affirms my interpretation of Turner, and offers amazing insights into the creation of any ‘national character’ – most often determined by culture according to Potter. (Culture of course is determined by countless things — natural environment, religion, economy, class structure, etc). Potter’s central thesis that it is abundance (an a culture of abundance) that has created the national character of the US.

David Potter’s work has been helpful as I continue to try to better understand the American system of higher education, but as importantly, it makes me wonder about contemporary American Character and what role abundance has played in today’s america — from the presidency to high growth figuring out every conceivable way to deliver me materials/digital goods — think Amazon and Whole Foods.

America is totally befuddling at this time, and appears to be broken into a many pieces of separate reality with snippets of digital content (tweets, videos, jpgs) representing other human beings. I hope by the time I finish Potter my thoughts/interpretations will make more sense.

More to come as this summer of research continues.

 

UK Science Calls for Support of Undergrad Founders and Entrepreneurship Education

While it has a decidedly scientific bent to it, the Council for Science and Technology (a UK government agency) has sent a letter to Prime Minister at 10 Downing St. arguing for more improving entrepreneurship education.

The letter, with a direct nod to MIT, is signed by Sir Mark Walport and Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, and can be found here.

Prime Minister Theresa May has responded here.

For my take on the campus ecosystem.

 

Some @PeterThiel Content | Videos and Articles

Like many, I’ve been fascinated by Peter Thiel for a few years, really hitting my radar with his Thiel Fellowship a few years back when he asked innovators to leave the campus and pursue their innovations (here are all the fellowship winners). I was fortunate enough to Peter-thiel-paypal-historysee him in Conversations with Tyler at George Mason University in 2015.

His background, from founding PayPal (PYPL | NASDAQ) and funding Facebook (FB | NASDAQ) to his fellows and Zero to One (his book), its clear this guy is one of the most intelligent and insightful people out there (at least among those sharing their thoughts publicly) so it’s no surprise that he has been so successful. Here is some Thiel content.

I share the The Competition Myth by Peter Thiel with all of my students.

Excellent long video interview with Bill Kristol. Really covers a diverse set of topics from Facebook to the major problems with higher education – really going after the ‘racket’ of higher ed with some incredible truths (last 25 minutes or so). Really great long interview (I watched it over 5 sessions)

Video of Peter Thiel discussing Mark Zuckerberg’s impact in specifics. Good short video (6:30).

Well? Pretty thoughtful, insightful guy huh? Feel free to send any great Thiel content you come across.

BTW, interested on my views of higher education, founders and innovation? Check out Campus Frontier: High Growth Student Startups at US Colleges and Universities.

 

 

 

Forbes Billionaires and Student Entrepreneurs

Each year Forbes The World’s Billionaire list is released and its as clear as a punch in the nose that student founders build some of the most important, impactful and wealth creating ventures in the world. Here are a few from the 2016 World’s Billionaires list.

Bill Gates (1), Mark Zuckerberg (6), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (12 & 13), Phil Knight (24), Michael Dell (35), Elizabeth Holmes (435), and Kevin Plank (527) are some of the student founders on the list. Facebook and Microsoft appear to have the ability to field basketball squads from members of the list.

The basic Forbe’s  billionaire story provides an overview of the shrinking and churn of the list… number of billionaires is down as more moved out than in and total wealth and average wealth are down from 2015.

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Space Race Now Includes 12 Mile High Elevator

Stories of elevators into the sky have circulated for decades, now Thoth Technology has received a patent for an 12 mile high inflatable elevator/tower with a launchpad at the top. The idea being it will be easier and cheaper to launch from so high above ground. Its just a patent, but who doesn’t love big ideas? From Techcrunch…

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