globalEDGE Blog - By Tag: entrepreneurship

In 2011, Portugal was hit by a severe economic crisis and the government needed an international bailout of $103 billion for austerity measures. The effects of this crisis are still relevant to this day as the unemployment rate in Portugal just rose to 14.1%. Simply put, this has been the worst recession for the Portuguese economy in more than 40 years. Now an important question remains unanswered—as a nation and a workforce, how do you recover from this economic hardship?

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When naming the most innovative place in the world, Silicon Valley of the United States is usually everyone’s first response. However, that might not hold true in Europe. The tech-savvy country of Estonia is proving to be an important focal point for entrepreneurship and innovation. Right on the edge of Europe, Estonia has a total population of just 1.3 million. Estonia may be considered an extremely small country, but in terms of technology and innovation, it’s a giant.

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On January 15, the DC District Court of Appeals struck down the FCC's Open Internet Rules, also known as the net neutrality rules, on the basis that they had no legal grounding.  The net neutrality rules forced broadband providers to have all sources of Internet traffic, from social media to online gaming, to be treated equally in terms of regulation. With these rules gone, the way internet services will be used in the coming future will be very different. Not only will public consumption be affected, but businesses dependent on the internet and the tech industry in general have reason to worry.

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Latin America is filled with a myriad of natural resources, and for generations many Latin American countries relied on exporting these endowments for their wealth. However, the tides are beginning to change in Latin America. For the first time in history, a large number of Latin Americans are choosing to be entrepreneurs. In 2010, just 2.6% of the world’s applications for patent registration were filed in Latin America. With the new surge of entrepreneurship in the region, expect that number to change.

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Businessmen go to Africa with hopes of profitable investment opportunities, but often they forget the level of diversity present among African countries. “You can’t treat Africa as one single market. So choosing where to play and where you will get the best return is the critical question,” said Michael Wood, the co-founder and director of consulting firm Aperio.

Many companies target the continent’s biggest economies, such as Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya; because they think these markets have mature economic structures. However, Wood suggests that companies new to the African market should first enter a smaller country. A small market usually provides investors with a lower risk of failure, less competition, and more approachable customers.

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In a recent series of blog posts in the Economist, the Schumpeter columnist compared start-ups in two European cities: London and Berlin. Both are major cities in Europe that are popular to tourists, but are less well known for being leading cities for start-ups. Comparing the two, Berlin has only recently seen an increase in digital start-ups. In contrast, London has seen a large increase in tech start-ups during the internet boom in the late 1990’s. Increases in technology and international business could result in more cities beginning to experience tech start-ups.

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For as long as most people can remember, receiving a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree has been the first step in becoming an entrepreneur and starting one’s own business. After gaining some significant prior work experience, an MBA degree candidate is expected to dedicate two academic years to taking courses structured around core business concepts.  These programs are costly; the 2 year MBA degree at Harvard Business costs upwards of $56,175. And even with 65% of students receiving some form of financial aid, many are beginning to wonder: is the cost of education worth the risk of starting up a business that has a chance of failing?

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File under: Entrepreneurship, France

Long before the financial crisis hit in 2009, private debt clouded the economics of developed countries and emerging markets.  Between 2004 and 2009, as seen on this interactive map, shows the private-sector non-financial debt rose by an average of 43% of GDP in the Western countries.  Since then, the public sector’s ledger has taken on the debt burden.  The frequency and amount of government bailouts and fiscal stimuli dished out by lethargic economies sent the ratio of government debt to GDP spiraling.  The Corporate sector have begun to deleverage while Households and Financials are taking on more.  This is especially evident in France, where sustainable growth is expanding in five strategic areas: education, research, industrials, infrastructure, and financial technology.

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Identifying intercontinental and cross-cultural opportunities and weaving them into unique profit-building innovations can be a daunting task for a small start-up, especially when a high cost-risk ratio is factored.  Michigan State University offers a multitude of resources for global entrepreneurs for understanding how to tackle the most common roadblocks: market commonality/divergence recognition, foreign economy entrance, and network access for concrete business-services platform.

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How to encourage entrepreneurship? This is a question many universities, cities, states and nations ask themselves on an almost daily basis. The notion of entrepreneurship is a romantic one. Those who begin ventures in a dorm room or garage and achieve success are universally beloved – look no further than Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. The secret formula to release and cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit has long been debated. Could failure actually be a cause?

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Starting a business is not an easy task. It’s one that takes hard work, dedication, and an entrepreneurial spirit that is willing to take on challenges. Despite the many challenges faced by entrepreneurs, starting a business has become easier in certain parts of the world as policymakers begin to recognize the importance of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurial activities are extremely crucial for the economic well-being of almost every country. As the driving force of innovation and job creation, entrepreneurship has taken on a new level of significance in the global economy. However, certain countries lag behind others in terms of entrepreneurial activities. Differences in culture and business climate are the major factors affecting the level of entrepreneurship within a country.

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Entrepreneurship is an important facet of every economy across the globe due to the fact that many times, these new businesses find success when going abroad. The most obvious form of entrepreneurship is starting a new business. Other forms exist as well including revitalizing a mature organization in response to a new opportunity or when large organizations spin off a part of their company, making a new company.

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Often times, raising capital is a stumbling point for entrepreneurs starting a business.  Sometimes personal funds just aren’t enough and venture capital can be tough to come by.  Because of this, entrepreneurs often turn to angel investors.  Angel investors are generally similar in practice; that is, most of them look for specific traits in the founder and business model that indicate whether the new firm has the potential to be successful.

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The traditional model for young start-ups has been to establish a foothold in the United States for a couple years, before branching out to Europe and Asia. These traditional models are out of date and only constrict your company's growth potential.

The United States used to be worth twice as much as Europe and three times that of Asia. Times have changed though; the world is becoming one market, a global market. The language of this global market is currency, which can take on multiple forms, but it's uniting all. If you aren't doing business in Europe and Asia, that's 2/3's of your potential revenue streams you are missing out on.

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In economies that are slightly behind their modern industrial counterparts, entrepreneurship is often viewed as an important component in stimulating economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and even alleviating poverty for these countries. However, before that is accomplished, there are several unique features that affect entrepreneurship in developing countries. While some of the distinct aspects of developing countries inhibit entrepreneurship, others enable entrepreneurial activities and allow start-up businesses to be successful despite great odds.

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With poor infrastructure, pervasive corruption, and widespread poverty, being an entrepreneur in a developing country in Africa can be quite a challenge. But to one Rwandan, a problem became an opportunity. Oliver Nizeyimana started a bus transportation company in the year before he graduated with a degree in management. As a student of the National University of Rwanda in Butare, it would take him a very long time to get to class, and he had an idea to start a bus company that stressed punctuality. He saw an opportunity and took advantage, but it wasn’t without many obstacles and problems to overcome.

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Entrepreneurship is risky. Entrepreneurship is for the naïve. Entrepreneurship rarely succeeds. All of these assumptions make entrepreneurship sound like a bleak place only for the most risk-averse; the de facto position from many people is that corporate life is the way to go. But this conventional position is far from true. Building new companies is far more sensible than one may think.

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While cities and industries around the world have been displaying a great deal of resilience in tough economic times, small businesses also have the opportunity to accomplish this. Almost every day businesses overcome a variety of obstacles and setbacks in order to operate successfully. In fact, in a globalized world, small businesses may have greater access to foreign markets and the latest technology but that also means these businesses are connected to potential disruptions in the global economy. These small businesses also have the problem of facing increased competition from larger businesses. However, just as countries or industries can bounce back from economic hardships and natural setbacks, small businesses can do the same.

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With 4,000 active technology start-ups, Israel has more such firms than any country outside of the United States.  With a population of nearly eight million people, Israel has higher levels of start-ups, engineers, and venture capital investment per capita than any other nation.  High tech products make up almost half of Israel’s annual exports.  While this may appear surprising at first, a variety of factors can be attributed to Israel’s maturation from an agricultural state to a technology hub in recent years. 

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Government leaders around the world are hoping that business start-ups will fuel economies still struggling since the global financial crisis.  To stimulate such growth, policymakers are shaping programs to promote the development of new business ventures.  What incentives are most effective for stimulating entrepreneurship?  What countries are leading the way for new business growth? 

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In the spirit of Global Entrepreneurship Week, today we will look at one of the most innovative concepts of entrepreneurship in recent years: the emergence of microfinance. Microfinance empowers poor individuals, mostly from developing countries, by lending them the capital needed to start their own small business. Access to capital for most individuals would not be available without the institutions that support microfinance. It is seen by many experts as a long-term solution to alleviating poverty, by promoting economic development and fostering international entrepreneurship.

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Entrepreneurship is the key, long-term growth driver of any country's economy. Not only do small businesses, in aggregate, add more jobs than large corporations, they are usually the companies leading technological breakthroughs. These small businesses are clearly very important to every country, but they face different challenges and rewards when operating in developed and emerging markets.

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With increased globalization, small businesses led by entrepreneurs can play an important role in global growth. In today’s world of interconnected markets and easy technological access, entrepreneurs have increased opportunities to expand their business abroad. Many entrepreneurs around the world have already expanded their small business overseas providing economic success and new jobs for many. In light of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we will take a look at one of these global start-up stories where a small business driven by an entrepreneurial spirit found success in markets abroad.

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The 4th annual Global Entrepreneurship Week kicks off today (November 14th) and runs through November 20th all over the world! Over 100 countries, thousands of partners and activities, and millions of people will be involved in inspiring up-and-coming entrepreneurs, fostering the entrepreneurial spirit, and allowing successful entrepreneurs to pass along their knowledge. Governments, educational institutions, businesses, and the media are all coming together this week to stimulate start-up’s and foster growth among entrepreneurial ventures.

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If you wanted to start a business anywhere in the world where would you pick? According to a Wall Street Journal article, the best place would be Denmark. The article talks about a collection of surveys that show a glimpse of entrepreneurship around the world and the factors that might help your next business make it in the global marketplace.

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Although many people would not expect it, the eighth largest economy in the world is gradually remaking itself into the silicon valley of the rainforest and the next hot venture capital market. This is being fueled by a predicted growth rate of 7.1% and expectations to continue this tear through the end of the decade. It also sports 1.7 million IT professionals, 123 national institutes of science and 400 technology incubators throughout the country. There is also a great political environment where the government and private companies are currently spending 1% of GDP on developing high-tech industries such as aerospace, agribusiness, information technology, business-process outsourcing, semiconductors and telecommunications.

Investors have their checkbooks ready and are catching up on their Portuguese.

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In a challenging economic environment, young professionals and recent graduates across the globe are forced to think of new ways to enter the workforce.

In the United States, some are taking an entrepreneurial approach. These entrepreneurs recognize that what they are doing on the side can create revenue – running a website out of their home or offering social media marketing consultation – and can be performed anywhere in the world with anyone, at any time. They toss the security of a paycheck and good benefits at a place that is now considered a boring place to work.

In the United Kingdom, graduates are trying to fill their resumes. They are encouraged to find a market shortage and then gain the skills to fill the gap.

In China, the story is different. The economic future looks (arguably) optimistic – China boasts more than 10% growth on average. The problem is that China is providing more than 6 million college graduates a year and the economy is not producing the number of jobs demanded by the graduates. The video below is a great 6 minute documentary on the issue, especially for international students traveling to China to broaden their interests and expand their resume.

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Founded in 2003 by Andrew Rugasira, Good African is a coffee manufacturer which has begun to penetrate the global business scene. Good African began its foray into international markets via Waitrose, a British supermarket chain, has expanded to other rival chains, and is now being sold in supermarkets across Britain. The company is also planning on expanding to the United States as well. What lessons might someone seeking to take their business global bring away from Mr. Rugasira and Good African?

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Doug Barry of the U.S. Commercial Service has another market brief for our blog readership. In this brief, he interviews Amer Kayani, who is a Senior Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia. The interview covers the potential of emerging markets, with a primary focus on Saudi Arabia. Additionally, Mr. Kayani clears up some misconceptions some may have regarding Saudi business sentiments towards U.S. investors and businesspeople.

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A recent report conducted by Community Food Enterprise, backed up by a number of case studies, highlights the importance that local businesses in the Food and Beverage Industry play in economic development. The report focuses on twenty-four food ventures from around the world, such as an organic farming co-op, as well as a caterer in Zambia. All of the enterprises examined in the report aim to become sustainable business models which are not dependent on government aid.

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Next week their are two themes of importance in the global community. We will be highlighting International Education Week, which is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. However, don't forget about Global Entrepreneurship Week, which is an initiative to inspire young people around the world to embrace innovation, imagination and creativity. So please join us next week as we explore the many aspects that make education and  the global exchange so great, and don't forget to continue to innovate, imagine, and create!

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It’s hard to deny that the business climate for women is changing. Fifteen Fortune 500 companies are currently run by women, up from twelve last year.  Twenty-eight companies have women doing the top job in the Fortune 1000. Yet challenges still exist for women, namely in the international business world. Recently, Mrs. Evelyn Mungai of Nairobi, Kenya, an international business entrepreneur, visited Indianapolis to speak to the National Association of Women Business Owners about these challenges and how to overcome them. She is currently the owner of Evelyn’s School of Design, an internationally-acclaimed business that has been going strong for 33 years.

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It isn’t a secret that many aspects of developing countries are unappealing to the global businessperson. Decrepit urban and rural areas, lawlessness, and violence often cause companies to avoid these areas either out of fear for employee safety, logistics, or simply because they can’t find a way to make doing business there profitable. However, the fact still stands that these areas have hundreds of millions of potential customers lacking many goods and services. Additionally, there have been numerous pioneering companies which have had to modify their business strategies in order to adapt to the economic climate of these regions, and have subsequently thrived there. Here are a few of the issues that have arisen in these areas, and tips from successful companies on how they’ve handled them:

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File under: Entrepreneurship

MSNBC gives answers to questions small business entrepreneurs have - but we at globalEDGE like to ponder how this advice would be different if they were overseas. The video presents information that can be helpful to many entrepreneurs and gives advice that can easily be implemented in everyday management activities.

Do you have any thoughts on how the business climate is different internationally?

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

 

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File under: Entrepreneurship

“Less is more.” It is a phrase often used and many tend not to believe it – especially when it comes to business. This lesson especially applies to small business entrepreneurs would be worried that they do not have enough capital to achieve their goals. When a company is operating on a tight budget, it will tend to have a lean cost structure and accordingly perform much better than a company that has received a lot of cash from venture capital firms.

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A couple months ago, we posted our very first gE blog series on Global Entrepreneurship. One of the topics we had discussed was the growing ease of not only starting a business, but also expanding your reach internationally due to increased access to computer and information technology. The internet in particular is a key development in this respect.

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File under: Entrepreneurship

In today's tough economic climate, many small businesses are worried whether or not they will survive. If the future isn't looking bright, you may want to give exporting another look. A variety of factors make now a better time than ever:

  • A weak dollar means, relative to the field, your products are on sale.
  • Depression? Not everywhere in the world! Look to other markets to fill in for slumping domestic demand.
  • Is your product seasonal? Look to a different hemisphere to fill in off-season sales.

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Lists are interesting creatures - some find them informative while others simply disregard them. The 2nd annual list of the top 5,000 fastest growing private companies in the U.S. is an interesting follow-up to the recent Global Entrepreneurship Series on our blog. The list is a comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy - America's independent-minded entrepreneurs. Taken as a whole, these companies represent the backbone of the U.S. economy.

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The week of November 17-23, 2008 will be the first ever Global Entrepreneurship Week. The week will be a coordinated effort of dozens of countries across the globe coordinating activities aimed at young people. Why? To think big. To turn their ideas into reality. To make their mark. Additional details such as participation in the various activities and/or sponsorship opportunities can be found on the following website: unleashingideas.org. Also check out their blog: unleashingideas.org/blog/.

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