Keeping Entrepreneurship Alive

New Series, beginning soon, ‘Keeping Entrepreneurship Alive.’

The idea for this series came from a post to Brad Field’s blog Startup Revolution»Communities by Namek Zu’bi from Jordan, titled ‘Young Startup Communities:  Beware of the Excitment Bubble.’

‘Scaling Up Entrepreneurship:’ A Master Class in Mentoring

The seed for this Master Class came about from a request of the US Embassy Moscow  to me in May 2010.  The Embassy was asked by the the Governor of Novosibirsk, Russia to organize a conference on solutions the region could implement to stimulate more innovation, venture capital and entrepreneurship.  My 60 minute presentation generated numerous questions that demonstrated the audience’s lack of understanding of what entrepreneurship is, how it and venture capital works, and actions government can implement to spur more innovation, technology creation and investment.

John Hoxmeier, Associate Dean, Graduate Studies at Colorado State University (CSU) learned about the Novosibirsk event and asked me to create a 3 day Master Class around the subjects of innovation, entrepreneurship and venture capital for CSU’s Executive MBA program in Kazan, Russia.  Students in the program hold senior positions in state owned enterprises, Ministries of ICT, Industry, Trade & Development, the Tatarstan Presidential Administration and Tatarstan’s sovereign wealth fund with responsibilities to help create more technology and knowledge based companies in the region.

Thereafter I added new content to the Master Class, and I’ve delivered it to staff of investment funds, entrepreneurs, incubators, technoparks, universities, economic development agencies and senior government officials in Croatia, Kazakhstan and the World Bank.

Click on the icon below to view the program in English, its content, learning and ‘Scaling Up Innovation’ objectives. Write me at to learn more about this program & its delivery in your region or country to stimulate more innovation, entrepreneurship and venture capital.

To view the program in Russian language, just click on the below icon.

Enabling the Globalization of Talent: Part II

There is a shortage of experienced entrepreneurs, project managers & CEOs to lead tech start-ups on the path to commercialization in emerging market countries.  In my 1st post on this subject, I summarized the issues of attracting senior staff to start-ups in the emerging markets.

Perhaps the path forward for emerging markets is to replicate the job bank solution that some American university technology transfer offices implemented to solve the problem they experience; how attract and retain talent when one is not located in an ecosystem like Silicon Valley with its invisible networks that enable employment demand and supply of labor to meet so fluidly?

The tech transfer office of the University of Michigan (U-M) recruited a CEO from California to lead a start-up created around U-M technology.  He moved his family from Silicon Valley and took-up his new position in Michigan. One year later the start-up failed.

Because the CEO was in Michigan, far away from the center of startup creation in the USA, it took him nine months to find a new job, not in Michigan, but in Boston.  This lack of local employment opportunities in tech is a disincentive for senior managers to take the risk of moving to Michigan and this risk is what Michigan must overcome if it is to attract more senior managers to Michigan-based startups; such problems exist for publicy policy makers attempting to create innovation centers in other states of the USA and foreign countries too, cities, regions and countries that need experienced managers from Silicon Valley and Boston.

The Universities of Michigan, Utah and others are attacking this problem by pooling job opportunities in their start-ups and SMEs into a centralized job bank to create career options for smart talent.  This set of employment possibilities gives innovators, CEOs and entrepreneurs the confidence that if their start-up should fail, options exist for them in the local market to maintain their income, security and family well-being.  Such a solution reduces the friction of smart talent moving from Silicon Valley or Boston to another state or another country for that matter, and helps these regions and countries get competitive.

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Enabling the Globalization of Talent: Part I

Thought leaders like Vivek WadhwaSteve Blank and others have helped emerging market countries to walk on the path of knowledge creation by creating programs like Start-Up Chile, an initiative of the Chilean Government to attract entrepreneurs to start their early stage companies in Chile.

From Manila to Moscow to Mumbai, from Shanghai to San Paulo, these cities have a shortage of talent to create the mass of innovation, venture capital & new enterprises required for economic diversification & job growth.  Start-ups need serial entrepreneurs, innovators & seasoned CEOs, yet the number of such candidates is thin in the emerging markets.

Creating this pool of talent will take a generation to achieve on its own, but policy makers, citizens and investors can’t wait that long.  Recommendations to alleviate this shortage include attracting those who left their motherland for greener pastures, and liberalizing immigration policies to attract Westerners and non-Westerners.  Some Governments offer financial carrots to attract talent, e.g., a $40,000 grant for entrepreneurs to start their business in Chile or tax benefits from the Russian Government to locate in Russia; other incentives include lucrative compensation packages.

Monetary incentives alone are insufficient for relocation to succeed without a safety net for smart talent to leave their homes and make the leap of faith to emerging markets & new countries.  While high salaries with the thrill & excitement to create new start-ups in a foreign country appeals to free spirits and the unmarried, moving to an emerging market & uprooting the family is just too high of a risk for most, given the high failure rate of SMEs.

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