Scott Gerber is a syndicated columnist (WSJ, Entrepreneur, Inc.), a serial entrepreneur, author of Never Get a "Real" Job: How to Dump Your Boss, Build a Business and Not Go Broke, and founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council, an advocacy group made up of many of the world’s top young entrepreneurs that works to help young people overcome the devastating effects of youth unemployment and underemployment by teaching them how to build businesses.
He recently shared an hour of his time on my radio show. We talked about his book (great book!) and his thoughts on entrepreneurs and startups and the challenges faced for their success. You can listen here.
I asked him, during the show, his thoughts on what steps could be taken to create a more favorable environment for entrepreneurs and startups. I asked him:
Imagination plays a big role with entrepreneurs. And we've reached the imagination moment in the show. President Obama's on line 2 for you now. He's leaving you a message inviting you to the White House. He wants your list of three things he can do right now to create a more favorable environment for entrepreneurs and startups and the jobs they create. What do you tell him?
And, as you'd expect, he offered a great answer:
I think number one is the ability to ramp up not just high growth entrepreneurship exercises but also small business exercises. You know, we talked a lot about building the next billion-dollar business which of course is going to have a tremendous effect if we can move the amount of billion-dollar enterprises in the US from where it is now to 3 to 4 times that....However, when you look at what is creating the most jobs is the top creator is in fact small businesses that hire 1 - 10 employees or 1 - 50 employees. So, we need to incentivize them more.
We need to stop bailing out big business and bailing out small business which unfortunately now is a big cliche, but it’s the truth.
The 2nd thing I’d say is we need to invest more time and resources into backing incubators and other startup accelerator programs. I think it’s time we put government dollars into real innovation and not just simply buzzwords like clean-tech. While clean-tech represents a massive opportunity, it can’t be the only thing just because it’s a hot word. I think you need to always be experimenting with many different pots and putting money into many different areas. I think that it’s time we figure out a way for government to support that level of entrepreneurship acceleration.
The last thing I would say is regardless of what’s going on right now in terms of budget cuts and obviously right now we’re facing deficits that are just insane... but, entrepreneurship education is truly something that I belive should not just be an afterthought. It can’t be just some one-liner in a speech. It has to be something that is real, something that is added to curriculum, something that the Department of Education is not only condoning but is bringing in top experts and figuring out how to replicate successful programs. We need to figure out how to teach people not just how to be employees but to rather teach them how to make a choice. On the college level we need to be sure that people are very much understanding that the paradigm shift we are seeing is here to stay and if we don’t educate properly we don’t begin to support people properly. Even on the kindergarten to grade 12 level we’re in for a long, long, haul that will not be pretty and will not make the US the greatest country in the world when it comes to innovation.
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Read transcripts from our conversation here.
Some may say this is inappropriate.
This is politics! And you never discuss politics at Thanksgiving Dinners, backyard barbecues and on a business radio show.
I disagree. As long as only politicians can discuss solutions for our country then those solutions and their interested audiences will remain off-limits, political, for those who make this brand, our country, run. And only politicians, these days that's only career politicians, can discuss those ideas and spoon-feed solutions to the public.
I see our times as an all hands-on-deck opportunity and not a crisis.That opportunity is for each of us to lend our hands, our conversations, our ideas to find and share solutions. In our absence those challenges are left to ideologues, vested interests and politicians of all stripes and partisan persuasion. We...are the only ones with vested interests. And now we have, with social media and the urgency of today, the opportunity to reclaim our place at this table and discuss our ideas to solve our challenges. At the very least, we can listen to a discussion until we are ready to speak up.