How Entrepreneurship Can Literally Save the World

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Answers by Steven Koltai, Author of Peace Through Entrepreneurship and former Senior Advisor for Entrepreneurship to Secretary Hillary Clinton, on Quora:

A: In my book I have a chapter called "A Million Reasons Entrepreneurship is Good for You"; I won't list a million (and so as not to scare you, in fact, there are just thirteen in the book), but some of the top effects are:

  1. Jobs: Entrepreneurship is the single best proven way to create jobs.
  2. Wide and total access: For any member of society, including those otherwise excluded for many sectors (women and, for example, or those not born to privilege).
  3. Connection to other segments of society: Entrepreneurs are the great "bridging class" of society, both internally and across national borders.
  4. Respect for the importance of education.
  5. Emphasis on good governance: Including regulatory reform, protection intellectual property rights protection.
  6. Bringing innovation: Including, by the way, "no tech" and "low tech" to market.

Entrepreneurs are the essential "bridge" between innovation and commercialization. Without entrepreneurs, innovation often stays in the laboratory or the academic journal. These are a few of the key benefits of entrepreneurship promotion.

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A: Of course, there are many issues here, some of which are seemingly intractable: religious and minority hatred, inter-ethnic violence, disputes over resources like land and water, age-old conflicts where the root is often obscured by history. However, my view is that one of the key problems is political unrest and that is what can very often be solved by job creation.

You will note that there are very few countries with low unemployment that suffer high political unrest and violence. Further, many of the world's biggest problems (like climate change) can actually only be solved by entrepreneurs.

Overall, however, the thesis of my book is that if one had to identify the single most important factor in preventing failed societies, violence and despair, it is jobs. And job creation is best achieved through bolstering entrepreneurship.

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A: Yes! At least I think so. Not only would it create jobs (the single most important benefit), but it would do all the other things I talk about in my book. It provides a way up for women, girls, and those not born to privilege. It focuses everyone (including the government) on improving education. It drives regulatory reform and fights corruption (high levels of corruption are one of the primary motivations that drive entrepreneurs to leave one country and go to another).

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