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Schumpeter: Crazy diamonds

July 22, 2013 at 10:16 pm | News Desk

ENTREPRENEURSHIP is the modern-day philosopher’s stone: a mysterious something that supposedly holds the secret to boosting growth and creating jobs. The G20 countries hold an annual youth-entrepreneurship summit. More than 130 countries celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week. Business schools offer hugely popular courses on how to become an entrepreneur. Business gurus produce (often contradictory) guides to entrepreneurship: David Gumpert wrote both “How to Really Create a Successful Business Plan” and “Burn Your Business Plan!”.But what exactly is entrepreneurship (apart from a longer way of saying “enterprise”)? And how should governments encourage it? The policymakers are as confused as the gurus. They assume that it must mean new technology; so they try to create new Silicon Valleys. Or that it is about small businesses; so they focus on fostering start-ups. Both assumptions are misleading.Silicon Valley has certainly been the capital of technology-based entrepreneurship in recent decades. But you do not need to be a geek to be an entrepreneur. George Mitchell, the Texas oilman who pioneered fracking, did as much to change the world as anybody in the Valley…
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