Dr. Jeffrey Cornwall, the Jack C. Massey Chair in Entrepreneurship and Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Belmont University, wrote an article entitled America’s Entrepreneurial Flame is Fading that was published on the Cristian Science Monitor‘s webpage on the 31st of August where he explicitly compares Chile to the United States in terms of entrepreneurship.
As he details the continuing complexities of state-side entrepreneurialism, he notes that the impact of the changes in public policy over the past decades– increased direct government control over the direction of the economy, higher tax rates, and more regulation are leading to the demise of the American entrepreneurial spirit. Innovation and entrepreneurship thrive on various freedoms that, according to Cornwall, are being layered away though various “socialist” governmental acts.
The article takes and interesting and unexpected twist when he turns his attention to Chile and the measures being taken to nationally combat a fading entrepreneurial flame. He denotes Chile as an economic success story in South America and says that to challenge slowing levels of entrepreneurship, the Chilean government took the reigns and put themselves in charge of creating entrepreneurship.
While one sole entity such as a governing body cannot actually create entrepreneurship–it must be incited internally by innovative minds– it can spark a trend that increases a nation’s level of entrepreneurial competitively. This is exactly what the Chilean Ministry of Economy was thinking when they conjured up the idea of Start-Up Chile. With this proactive approach and the influx of innovative foreigners taking part in the program (who will inevitably mix with the Chilean population, providing jobs, and added knowledge), the government has taken a highly strategic stance. Not to mention, the Chilean government’s investment in R&D has increased 70% since 2005 and they have initiated a R&D Tax break nearing approximately 30%.
Chile is not alone in this endeavor. Countries like Russia, Kenya, and Israel, are all taking similar measures in lighting their national entrepreneurial flame by promoting innovation and the exchange of ideas. With nothing to lose, programs like Start-Up Chile not only bring attention to the hosting country but create long-term effects that are sure to keep the proverbial flame afire for generations to come.