I believe the first step in making the case for entrepreneurship is to demonstrate a ‘sense of urgency’ to act. For those of us living in states with adverse demographics and/or unfavorable economic indexes, all we need to do is a little research to pull the data together. The PowerPoint presentation provides demographic and economic indexes for Iowa.
Second, we need to demonstrate "why entrepreneurship is important.” The National Commission on Entrepreneurship provides an excellent set of reasons. They are:
Entrepreneurs use innovations to improve the quality of life. Small entrepreneurs lead the way in developing ideas. They are responsible for more than half of all innovations -- 67 percent of inventions and 95 percent of radical innovations since World War II.
Entrepreneurs create new jobs. New fast growth companies are but a small subset of the U.S. economy, comprising just 350,000 firms out of a total of 6,000,000 current U.S. businesses with employees. Yet, these fast growing companies created about two-thirds of new jobs between 1993 and 1996. In other words, a majority of net new jobs are created by a small subset of entrepreneurial firms that comprise only 5-15 percent of all U.S. businesses.
Entrepreneurs improve our position in global economic competition. Finding opportunity in change, entrepreneurs have pushed U.S. companies into dominating positions in critical global industries such as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and the Internet. Small businesses with fewer than 500 employees make up nearly 97 percent of all U.S. exporting firms, and their importance is growing. Between 1987 and 1997, the number of these small company exporters tripled, and between 1992 and 1997, the value of small company export dollars also tripled, to $171.9 billion. Companies with fewer than 20 employees have been the most successful exporters – they are the fastest growing both in numbers of exporters and in numbers of export dollars.
Entrepreneurs create economic growth and new wealth for reinvestment in our country. The U.S. is among the most "entrepreneurial” nations because Americans believe they have opportunities to start businesses and live in a culture that respects entrepreneurship as an occupation. Each year Americans start 600,000 to 800,000 businesses with employees, and about two million Americans start their own self-employment ventures. These business starts are the foundation of an entrepreneurial economy. A new series of studies, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), has finally made the connection explicit. The GEM researchers found that fully one-third of the differential in national economic growth rates is due to the impact of entrepreneurial activity.
Finally, we need to answer the question, "Will Entrepreneurial Centers Deliver?” The link to the PowerPoint presentation provides a case study with positive evidence to answer this question in the affirmative. To visit the PowerPoint presentation, point your browser to: http://www.niacc.edu/case.html. This presentation is focused on the Iowa case, but it can be appropriately modified for many other states looking to advance entrepreneurship. Best wishes and gook luck.