If entrepreneurs create most of the jobs, then we need to create more entrepreneurs. Most will fail, but we need to encourage as many as we can to try, to the fullest extent we can.
What have been and continue to be the barriers to entrepreneurship? Can we fix them?
Lack of education. Educational content, especially about business and entrepreneurship and fundraising, has been unleashed online. I don’t accept this as an excuse any more.
Lack of mentorship. Why hasn’t there been an Entrepreneur Mentorship project put online yet by the Obama administration? Not everyone lives in a major city with tons of potential mentors. Let’s get this up and running, and let’s get the successful business founders (still working, and retired) enrolled and actively participating. 15 minutes a week online with 1 mentee for 4 months. It could be up and running in a week. Get it done, please!
Lack of startup capital and marketing capital. I accept this less as an excuse because of Kickstarter and its various online brethren, but it is always a big issue. That said, capital chases good opportunities, so if you have something worth investing in (from the eyes of the investor, not from your vantage point) and you are willing to give a pound of flesh, then you should be able to get some capital.
Lack of personal savings for personal cash flow. This is a real issue. Kickstarter et. al. fundraising campaigns need to include budgeted funds for living expenses, not just product development costs. If you’re going to ask for money, ask for the money you need to go the distance to quit your job so you can focus on your venture, and so someone else can fill your job.
What incentives can be better provided to aspiring entrepreneurs who end up creating new jobs?
Universities can provide loan forgiveness. I’m probably the last person to have heard the expression, but due to the size of its endowment, someone described Harvard to me the other day as a “hedge fund with an educational non-profit arm.”
If you graduate from a school with educational loans, and you bust your butt and take on risk and make investment and end up creating lasting jobs, you should be rewarded by being relieved of at least some of your educational debt. You’re helping society, and you’re helping the economy, as a representative of that school. It’s phenomenal PR for them. Your school should reward you. It’s the best fundraising action they could ever take, instead of pelting you with fundraising mailers and calls and emails that you routinely dodge.
The government can provide tax breaks. If your company creates lasting jobs, your company should be rewarded with tax breaks for every job that you create.
I’m not a policy person, but there has got to be a way to structure this and sell it in Congress.