Top Ten Countries for Entrepreneurs: USA in 3rd?

Who do you think are the top ten countries for Entrepreneurs? Where do you think the US is this year? Well, when George Bush said that the French didn’t have a word for Entrepreneurs, the well-heeled in the Europe snickered. But, George may have the last laugh as many European countries performed poorly in a report on Global Entrepreneurship.

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Sh4rp_i
When George Bush said that the French didn’t have a word for Entrepreneurs, the well-heeled in the Europe snickered. But, George may have the last laugh as many European countries performed poorly in a report on Global Entrepreneurship.

Top Ten Countries for Starting a Business

According to the report, the best places to get your country off the ground are:

  1. Denmark
  2. Canada
  3. United States
  4. Sweden
  5. New Zealand
  6. Ireland
  7. Switzerland
  8. Norway
  9. Iceland
  10. Netherlands

This will raise some eye-brows as countries such as Iceland totally collapsed last year, Ireland is heading down the tubes it seems, and countries such as Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland are not the powerhouses of European economy.
You can download the complete report here.

Why is the US in 3rd?

Mark Henricks, writing on BNET, remarks that, ‘The United States ranks third overall behind those two countries on the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index. On one of the GEDI’s sub-indexes, this one ranking entrepreneurial activity, the U.S. came in eighth. It did rank first in one sub-index measuring entrepreneurial aspirations. Based on that, you might say that America is the land of wannabe entrepreneurship.’
The report cautions that, ‘his paper should serve more as an eye-opener than as a cause for alarm. The United States maintains its place among the leading entrepreneurial economies. Its performance is still superior in most respects to the averages for innovation-driven and efficiency-driven economies. Its strengths in the skill of its workers, the size of its markets, the institutional support for its people, and the aspirations of the American population are strong and robust.’

Fallen Stars

Australia is 11th. While most western countries got hammered by the recession, my business friends down under seemed fairly immune.
UK comes in 14th place despite a new pro-business government.
Germany, despite its influence across Europe both politically and economically, falls behind into 16th.
Israel comes in 21st, one of the few countries in the Middle East to score high.

Business in Asia

Korea performs well at 20th, though Singapore is higher in 15th.
China is well down in 40th place reflecting the difficulty for small businesses to get off the ground. Hong Kong, with its long ties to the west, is slightly higher in 23rd.
Does it add up?
I’m not sure these figures make sense. Or, to look at it another way, the assessment criteria may favor smaller countries over larger ones.
Think how difficult it is to turn a small boat around (Ireland) compared to a 500 ton tanker (USA). The starting positions are quiet different.
Also, as someone who divides his time between Ireland and China, the figures are slightly perplexing.
Banks in Ireland have been torn to shreds in the press for not lending. Despite massive bailouts.
Whereas Chinese businesspeople I work with seem to have little difficulty getting access to funding.
Note: India, another Asian powerhouse, comes in at 53rd.
Maybe I’ve missed something.

Perceived Strengths & Evolving Weaknesses

The authors of the report believe that ‘as we come to the end of the first decade of the new millennium is a more pragmatic reality check on some of our perceived strengths and evolving strategies to correct for past shortcomings.’
From where you’re standing, what advantages are there for those starting a business? What needs to be done to accelerate the process?
Please share your thoughts below.

Teaching Business Skills to 9 Year Old Child Entrepreneurs

I asked the little kid if he wanted to know how I made money. He said Yes. ‘It’s called Google Adsense. It’s real simple…’
Parents who run their own business want to share what they’ve learnt with their children. You want what’s best for them, what you didn’t have growing up. In short, a better life. Did your parents explain to you how to run a business? Ever wish they had? Even secretly?

I asked the little kid if he wanted to know how I made money. He said Yes. ‘It’s called Google Adsense. It’s real simple…’
Parents who run their own business want to share what they’ve learnt with their children. You want what’s best for them, what you didn’t have growing up. In short, a better life. Did your parents explain to you how to run a business? Ever wish they had? Even secretly? Continue reading “Teaching Business Skills to 9 Year Old Child Entrepreneurs”

How to Define Business Rules and Business Requirements

Where do Business Requirements start? Where do Business Rules end? One of the problems for junior Business Analysts is that they may focus so much on the Business Requirements, that they overlook how the underlying Business Rules define how the business truly functions. Unless you’re clear on the difference between the two, you may end up gathering requirements which will need to be revisited later as they contradict or even break a business rule. Continue reading “How to Define Business Rules and Business Requirements”

Identifying Role Models That Suit Your Business

Should you use a role model to develop your business? Maybe you should: the top business magazines say, ‘be yourself, be authentic, share your story’ Or maybe you shouldn’t. For entrepreneurs, using a role model creates a dilemma. Does it mean you’ve sold out? Do you lose street cred? Can you really copy someone else and be true to yourself?

kobe-bryant-entrepreneur-logox100 Should you use a role model to develop your business? Maybe you should: the top business magazines say, ‘be yourself, be authentic, share your story’ Or maybe you shouldn’t. For entrepreneurs, using a role model creates a dilemma. Does it mean you’ve sold out? Do you lose street cred? Can you really copy someone else and be true to yourself?
Identifying Role Models That Suit Your Business
Let’s take a step back and look at what having a role model really means.

  • Using a role model helps clarify your business vision.
  • It provides a frame of reference.
  • As you build your business, you can use your model as a sounding board.
  • It’s not a way to avoid who you really are but to
  • Strengthen your business while you and your business grow.

Most business leaders use mentors for inspiration. Why do you think a young Bill Gates spent some much time with Warren Buffet? Sometimes it’s more than being rich.
kobe-bryant-entrepreneur Kobe Bryant ad in Beijing 2010
In his autobiography, Gates highlighted three key points about choosing a role model:

  • Make sure they share your core values
  • Can help assess difficult business decisions and
  • Take you (and your ego) out of the decision-making process

For example, you could also use this technique to explore how others would approach the situation you’re in.

  • What would Richard Branson do in this situation?
  • How did Gates get little MicroSoft (before it rebranded as Microsoft) to beat IBM?
  • How did Jay Z get past his critics and naysayers?

5 Role Models: How They Overcame Obstacles, Criticism and Discrimination

Let’s look at five role models and see where and how they’ve overcome these obstacles.

# 1 JayZ – ridicule and Racism

‘He’s just a rap star’, I hear you say. Is he? Well, how did he make $204 million from his fashion empire? Things to note about JayZ. The fashion industry didn’t want him to succeed. The music industry didn’t want him to succeed. Even some of his own fans didn’t want him to succeed. Why?
People who shake up an industry destroy the status quo. The incumbents prefer to keep things as they are. And who wants ‘outsiders’, anyway? Read it whichever way you will; JayZ broke down these barriers. He took the flak, but it was worth it. Who knows what he plans to do next? Is he worried?

#2 Walt Disney – INDUSTRY RESISTANCE

Today Disney is about theme parks and playing catch-up with Pixar. But it wasn’t always like that. In the 1940s, Disney was to the film industry, what Steve Jobs is to gadgets today.
He totally changed how way movies were made. To this day, his techniques are used in art houses all over the world. Most don’t even know they came from Disney!
For example, he created a zoo on the studio lot so the artists could improve their drawings. The results were classics like The Jungle Book, Bambi, and Cinderella.
Will anyone watch The Incredibles in 100 years? Hardly. But, they’ll still watch Snow White.
If your business involves design, art, creativity, or innovation, read his biography. He’s not the caricature you might think he is.

#3 Pete Cashmore – Location, funding and experience

Mashable.com makes $50,000 per day. Every day. Pete Cashmore setup his site not in Silicon Valley or New York, but in cold, rainy Scotland. How un-cool is that? Cashmore’s success is due to timing, networking and leveraging Social Media. And as he writes about Social Media, he should know.
Mashable.com is not the prettiest site in the world. It looks a bit ‘thrown together’—but that’s part of the appeal. CNET, by contrast, is pixel perfect. But it’s also sterile, bland, and soulless.
Where do you want to hangout?
#4 Kobe Bryant – Racism
From Beijing to Bangkok, Kobe Bryant is one of the most popular sports stars, bigger than Beckham, Messi and Phelps in China.
So, what are you really trying to say…
Black sports stars have a very hard time in Asia; racial intolerance is very high. Bryant has eroded these barriers by visiting mainland China many times (often several visits a year), speaking a few words in Chinese, and looking at though he really enjoys himself. And I think he does!
He’s reached out to the Chinese. When his career wanes, there will be many, many business opportunities for him Asia. He’s planted the seeds.

#5 Bill Gates – Location, Looks & Market Disruption

Gates started out in Seattle (not LA, Silicon Valley or New York). As a teenager he would get up at 4am, run over to the university, program for hours, and then head back to school. He kept falling asleep in class. His drive to succeed at a young age was remarkable.
Conclusion
Malcolm Gladwell estimates that you need to put in 10,000 hours — and then some more – to become an expert in a field. The common denominator among these Entrepreneurs is that they make the commitment, established themselves as an authority, and then dominated their respective fields.
There are no shortcuts. In their own way, each of them overcame setbacks, criticism and other obstacles in their journey to succeed.
Maybe you don’t see it now, as they’ve come through the hardest parts. But if you read their stories, you can drawn from their experience, and use this as encouragement to develop your business. That’s what I think.
What do you think?
What have I missed? What other role models would you recommend?