Jonathan Ortmans

Building One Global Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Month: October 2009

Universities: Incubators of Entrepreneurial Talent

Not too long ago, entrepreneurship education was part of the curriculum of few university programs across the country. In 2003, the Kauffman Campuses initiative started to help seed cross-campus entrepreneurship programs at dozens of American universities, thereby allowing more young people to explore their entrepreneurial potential. Other universities have since moved in the same direction, bringing entrepreneurship education into the mainstream of learning by offering entrepreneurship courses and sponsoring extra-curricular activities, such as business plan competitions. Other institutions, like MIT, have gone even further by helping student scientists commercialize innovations. Continue reading

A Problem with a Gift in Its Hands

I have always liked the story of the CEO who sends two shoe salesmen to Africa.  When they report back, one says “Bad news, they don’t wear shoes here”.  The other reports excitedly “Wonderful news boss, they have no shoes”. Continue reading

Health Care Reform: Don’t Shortchange our Growth Drivers

On the heels of the Senate Finance Committee’s long-awaited vote on its health care bill, I thought it would be helpful to once more comment on its effect on our entrepreneurs.  The status quo in healthcare undermines entrepreneurship: small businesses are paying a higher cost to offer health insurance to their employees because of the smaller size of their workforce and the lack of competition in the small group market. Some entrepreneurs are dropping this benefit entirely not because they don’t want to provide insurance to their employees, but because the survival of their startups requires it. According to one estimate, 52 percent of workers in businesses with less than 50 employees were uninsured or underinsured during 2007. Even worse, many potential entrepreneurs and the talent they need to launch their ventures feel trapped in jobs that offer affordable health coverage for themselves and their families. Continue reading

Europe’s Entrepreneurial Challenge

The Doing Business 2010 report highlighted how the financial crisis has prompted governments to act in areas where regulatory reform may be more difficult and require more time. The report states that in times of recession, “the more quicklythe assets of nonviable firms can be freed up, the easier it is toremobilize those assets.” While the U.S. remained ranked 4th in the2010 ease of doing business list compared to its 2009 rank, othercountries have implemented several reforms that improved their ranking.How has the EU fared? Continue reading

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