In Support of Entreprenuership as America’s Leading Edge

The French term entrepreneurship has become permanently American, driven by its association with start-ups and venturesome business men and women risking much in pursuit of greater gain in the future from meeting customer’s needs and wants.  At its heart is a process driven by innovation in which the old is replaced by the new. Rather than subtle or marginal improvements, the leaps in change associated with the innovation are generally “game changers” where rules are rewritten rather than bent.

Austrian economist, Joseph Schumpeter   coined the phrase capturing the turmoil that results in meaningful innovation as “creative destruction” in 1942. The idea simply reflects that as new products and innovations come to the market, old products and paradigms are abandoned.  Harvard Professor Clayten Christenson is credited with contemporary attention to creative destruction in his numerous works, including “The Innovator’s Dilemma.” The destruction and creation of ideas, products, and methods is necessary to stimulate economic growth and expansion.  In order to carry these new products to market, there must be an individual who is willing to incur the risk of the unknown in exchange for the potential reward of economic gain.  This person is known as the entrepreneur, and entrepreneurship is part of a cultural identity that has defined American success and to which economies both large and small aspire.

It is an understatement to say that the model of economic growth in the United States depends upon the entrepreneur.  The entrepreneur that navigates new knowledge into an economically viable proposition is, in fact, vital to our economic well being.

Entrepreneurs do three things that we need more of.  First, they create new technologies, products and services.  Secondly, they create jobs- almost 3 million new jobs per year nationally.  Lastly, they create new net wealth in society, which makes us all better off.  Creating the conditions for individuals to pursue successful and sometimes failing ventures is key to an economy that is based upon continuous improvement of ideas through creative destruction.   Here at the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Chamber Foundation, we honor the roll of the entrepreneur through the policies that are advocated as well as the outcomes that are reported at www.TheFloridaScorecard.com.

In order to promote an entrepreneurial environment, the Florida Chamber of Commerce recently supported the Small Business Jobs Act which promises to create $1 billion in new capital for firm creation and expansion in Florida.  We also championed the creation of the Florida Growth Fund which will provide up to $400 million in new venture capital funding for Florida based firms.   The Florida Chamber Foundation also provides measurement on the condition of Florida’s innovation economy, which currently encompasses both positive and negative aspects for a culture of entrepreneurship.  For instance, the Kaufmann Foundation reports that the rate of entrepreneurial activity among Florida adults is higher than the U.S. population as a whole.  However, the cost of doing business in Florida has become increasingly high and currently ranks as the 41st most expensive state as reported in a combined measure that includes property and business taxes, worker’s compensation, insurance and utility costs.

In honor of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we join our fellow citizens in recognizing the entrepreneurial spirit of Americans that have improved our quality of life and changed the limit of the possible through their pursuit of creative destruction.    In Florida, let’s continue the awareness and support of the individuals and mechanisms that will continue our progress towards an innovation economy and together, secure Florida’s future.

Note: This piece was adapted with the input of Dr. Dale A. Brill after being previously published with co-author Tim Giuliani in The Miami Herald, The Gainesville Sun, The Sun Sentinel, and The South Sun Suntinel.

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