We’re Number 37! We’re Number 37!
Who's More Entrepreneurial? The Northwest or the Rustbelt?
Are we creating new businesses? Evidently!
Are we creating entrepreneurs who will grow…. And create jobs? Evidently… not.
Here are more stats that paint a pretty clear picture of
Here are areas where
* We are #1 in patents per capita and lest you think that this is all Micron, HP & INL, we're still #11 in inventor patents. Not too shabby.
* We are #11 in the percentage of our jobs that are in the high tech sector and #12 in R&D spending by industry.
* In terms of having a dynamic economy, we're #6 in 'churning' (business entries plus exits)
That tells us that we are probably pretty good at creating ideas and getting comfortable with a fast-changing economy. However...
Here the story is less encouraging -
* We are short-handed in IT professionals (#38) and even worse for knowledge workers (ranked #44) and they aren't migrating here (#45).
* We're #43 in broadband access to the internet.
* We aren't doing well on the global front either, only #43 in global businesses and #42 in package exports.
* Not only are we #37 in jobs from new firms, we are #41 in jobs created by high growth “gazelle” firms.
* Finally, we are #50, dead last, in manufacturing value-added.
Here's where our shortage of high-growth “gazelle” firms costs us dearly...
Only 0.9% of
And where do you find the most high-growth entrepreneurial firms? In industries where firms add enough value to earn that growth. High value-added industries are where entrepreneurs find the most opportunities for explosive growth.
Yes, we have a tech-driven economy, but we are not creating jobs or wealth. We need to build the tangible infrastructure (e.g., broadband) and the human infrastructure (e.g., knowledge workers and IT professionals). Most of all, we need to start creating businesses that are truly entrepreneurial and create wealth and create jobs.
So What Can We Do?
As I travel around, I get asked all the time “How do we make a place more entrepreneurial?” Yes, we do know an awful lot about what it takes to make organizations and communities more entrepreneurial. Across the
However, getting people to listen can be tough. One way to do that is that we must never lose sight of the true goal: Creating economic wealth (which usually translates into creating good jobs)! Starting lots of small business simply is not enough.
Creating jobs is very much a human process, driven by passionate, expert individuals. Increasingly, though, policymakers tend to take the bureaucratic view and look from “40,000 feet” –and a corresponding focus on institutions. (If we fund the right entities in industry, academe and government….jobs happen. But where are the humans?)
Brute Fact: Institutions don’t create jobs; entrepreneurs do.
Fortunately, policymakers are returning to the reality that job creation depends on people, on entrepreneurs and those who help them: That you grow an entrepreneurial economy – that you grow jobs - one entrepreneur at a time!
Consider the three key ingredients of job creation. The first two are “innovation assets” (Ideas) and “entrepreneurial assets” (People).
States and communities that champion their own champions create a lot more jobs and a lot more economic wealth for their citizens. (p.s. Having lots of gazelles also translates into higher future quality of life scores!)
We have ideas and people, now we need to invest in connecting. We need to invest in the people who already know how to do this, they are your connectors.
Maybe the “entrepreneurial” Northwest lags the “boring” Rust Belt for a reason? And just maybe we can reverse that trend – using the power of connecting to grow jobs!