I just finished reading the July/August issue of Inc. magazine. The cover article is called “Bring On The Entrepreneurs—Our highly practical eminently doable, totally reasonable plan to revitalize the American dream and create thousands of new companies and millions of new jobs.”
I couldn’t agree more with the premise of the article, and when I saw Trillions of dollars being wasted on government funded bail-outs in 2008 and 2009 I thought this money should go to incent the innovators in our economy not the economic relics. Young companies—those younger than six years old—provide the bulk of new jobs; in 2007 they accounted for 64 percent of them, according to a 2009 survey by the Kauffman Foundation that looked at start-up formation since the 1970s.
Here are a few of the highlights of the article:
Tap The Best and Brightest—Wherever They May Be.
One of the greatest sources of entrepreneurial successes in the U.S. has been the steady stream of immigrants who come here to find opportunity. Unfortunately, an overly restrictive immigration system fails to reflect that. The solution: a new visa program aimed at attracting foreign-born entrepreneurs.
Cut Graduates Some Slack
Average debt levels for graduating seniors with loans has risen to $23,200. In 2008, 10 percent of four-year college grads owed more than $40,000, up from 3% in 1996. What can be done? In 2008, the government began offering breaks to students with federal-loan debts who opt for public-interest work—allowing them to walk away from their debts after 10 years, compared with 25 years for recipients of some other federal loans. Entrepreneurs should get the same kinds of considerations. Let grads who start businesses postpone loan payments for a few years while they get their ventures off the ground.
Bank the Unbankabkle—With Microfinancing
Over the past few years, many mainstream banks have beefed up loan requirements or significantly cut back on small-business lending. Nonprofit microfinance lenders have come to play an ever more important role in bridging the funding gap. Cities and states should embrace these kinds of programs. Most federal money goes to banks and heavily regulated institutions, rather than nonprofits.
You can read the entire 16-point plan on the Inc. website. The point is that the old model is broken. The U.S. is quickly losing its place in the world as chief innovator due to poor public policy. It has been funding and investing in failures instead of new successes and innovations. Why not take the focus this administration has put on innovative green technology and put it on innovation in the economy in general (How about a Start-up Czar instead of Green Jobs Czar?)? I believe a new wave of entrepreneurship and pioneer thinking can transform not only the American economy, but also the world economy. Remember the roaring 90’s? Let’s do it again.