Entrepreneurship = Recovery: A Formula for Long-Term Economic Growth
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 / 11:00 am - 12:15 pm
   
   
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Moderators
Frank Luntz, President, The Word Doctors.com

Speakers
James Cain, U.S. Ambassador to Denmark (Ret.); Chairman, Cain Global Partners LLC
Kris Gopalakrishnan, CEO and Managing Director, Infosys Technologies Ltd.
William Saito, Director, Venture Support Center, Japan National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)
Carl Schramm, President and CEO, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Never mind the weak economy. Carl Schramm of the Kauffman Foundation remains a strong believer in the power of entrepreneurship.

"The American spirit is alive and well . . . and will continue to surprise and impress," he insisted. Schramm outlined the rise in entrepreneurial ventures during the down economies of the past, and predicted that history will repeat itself. He noted that more than half of all Fortune 100 companies were created during a bear market, most notably FedEx, Genentech, Microsoft and Apple. Schramm continues to believe there are many opportunities available to young, brilliant minds with heart and determination.

William Saito of AIST agreed strongly with Schramm. "America really is the land of opportunity," he said, contrasting the United States with Japan, where it is difficult to start a business. He noted that features of Apple's successful iPhone were present in many of Japan's mobile phone technologies even two years ago, but America was faster to get those technologies to market than Japan. "America's got the 'do factor,' the secret sauce of innovative genius."

Kris Gopalakrishnan of Infosys was gung ho about his native India as the hot place for entrepreneurial ventures. He believes that technology is providing unprecedented access to market information and new opportunities, and an abundance of highly educated young workers ready to deploy those advantages. In the past, India focused inward, and most ventures maintained their operations within the nation's borders. But that is now changing rapidly. Gopalakrishnan saw limitless opportunities in infrastructure, consumer goods, insurance and banking, and today he believes that innovative Indian firms will have an impact across the globe.

James Cain of Cain Global Partners noted a cultural shift toward greater entrepreneurialism in young Americans. "The current population of young, well-educated people will have had around 8 to 10 different jobs in between graduation and turning 30 years old. That means that they are taking charge of their careers and enjoy being in control of their lives," he remarked. Cain, the former U.S. ambassador to Denmark, believes that the U.S. stimulates creativity, rewards results and celebrates success, while Europe, by contrast, is focused on security, equality and what he termed "yenta law," a combination that he believes stunts growth in the long run.

The panel concluded by calling for the U.S. government to cut back taxes and regulation of the private sector and grant more funds to start-ups. They also hope to see universities adopt a greater role in feeding young entrepreneurs. "We hope that President Obama . . . allows our up-and-coming entrepreneurs the space to grow and innovate," said Schramm. "This will keep talent in America and continue to attract the best and brightest from all other countries."