It helps to have the mightiest military, but the key to world stability rests not in arms but in brains.
This past week I had the opportunity to attend the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Amway’s “Global Trends in Entrepreneurship” conference in Washington, D.C. Tom Donohue, the president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Steve Van Andel, chairman of Amway, headed up the conference and the panelists represented the best and the brightest business and thought leaders from across America.
Amway is an $11 billion a year American marketing company employing over 20,000 people worldwide with global headquarters in the suburbs of Grand Rapids, Mich. Its product include household, health and cosmetics and it was founded by Richard De Vos and Jay Van Andel in 1959.
Because Amway is a global leader and success model, it is in a unique position to lead on taking the responsibility for engaging in public discussion with political, business, academic, and policy leaders on the topic of entrepreneurship.
The U.S. Chamber partnered with Amway to conduct studies and reports on the need for a global strategy for entrepreneurship as a tool of economic freedom, social justice, responsibility, upward mobility, national stability and peace.
As the world gets smaller and regions become more dependent on each other, it is important to understand what drives entrepreneurship and self-employment and business creation.
The 2013 study was conducted in collaboration with GFK Research and the Entrepreneurship Centre at the University of Munich. It represented 24 countries and over 26,000 respondents both men and women.
The report made several important findings that show that although American entrepreneurship is alive and well, that is not the case in many parts of the world. The good news is the potential is there.
Here are some interesting respondent metrics the report found:
- Two-thirds of respondents had positive attitudes toward entrepreneurship.
- 46 percent consider their countries entrepreneur friendly.
- 42 percent of prospective business owners consider some form of public funding and start-up loans as indispensable to their success as well as access to education.
- 73 percent viewed the U.S. as the most entrepreneurial friendly and successful.
- 61 percent of young people under 30 have a positive attitude towards entrepreneurship.
Although there is great potential for global self-employment the actual self-employment rates remain very low. So the question is, What prevents people from becoming entrepreneurs?
One challenge is the lack of access to capital, but there are others, like the uncertainty of how to go about it, legal responsibility, educational deficit and most importantly the fear of failure and adversity to risk.
Government and social challenges that must be overcome as well as personal obstacles. If government creates an environment of bureaucracy and socially people judge entrepreneurship as gambling with one’s future, it puts a chill on self-employment and business creation.
Countries must be the enablers to their people. They must educate, encourage, and provide their people with the laws, tools and regulation that will create, foster and maintain a healthy stable of entrepreneurs.
Independence and the possibility of success are the foundation and attraction to entrepreneurship. The appeal for self-employment is the desire for many to control their own destiny and therein lays the challenges and obstacles to be overcome. Many countries see economic independence as too much of a risk to their power and authority.
So the mission is clear. America needs to lead the way in giving hope, power, knowledge and support to countries and individuals to create an entrepreneurial spirit and opportunity that lifts up the individual yet does not threaten national stability.
America’s economic strength is firmly rooted in our entrepreneurs and the same is possible in countries on every continent of the world. A world filled with a healthy blend of self-employed can only help to bring us a more peaceful and prosperous world.
Entrepreneurship is not all about money, selfish desires or ambition. Quite the contrary.
It is about independence from an employer, self-fulfillment, opportunity and the possibility to realize ones’ own potential and dreams.
The American dream can and should become the "Chinese dream” too.
The more the individual becomes successful the more consequential the state. And that is what many nation states must come to realize.
“Power to the people” is not merely a slogan it is the key to success, prosperity, and peace.
It is no accident that America’s success rests with our entrepreneurs big and small and everything in between. Today we can help do for others what we have been able to do for ourselves and if we do, we will be beating swords into plowshares.
Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of politics and public policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion. Read more reports from Bradley Blakeman — Click Here Now.
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