The State of Entrepreneurship

February 21, 2010

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by Carl J. Schramm, President and CEO, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

We are meeting here today at a grave moment in our national economic life. The recession that began just over two years ago has taken a horrific toll on this country. Despite so-called “green shoots” that economists claim to see sprouting up around every corner, the recession continues to be all too real for fifteen million unemployed Americans, a number that worsened last month despite this incipient recovery. While there is no magic solution to this, I want to talk today about a possible answer.

Now, in the time it took for me to say those few sentences, one new company was founded in the United States, creating four new jobs. By the time I finish this speech, twenty new firms will have been started, creating roughly eighty new jobs. This is the hope and power of entrepreneurship—and while entrepreneurs are not the sought-after silver bullet, economic recovery will not happen without them.

I approach this as an economist, a class of thinkers now notorious for their failure to foresee the financial crisis and recession, yet insistent on their ability to bring us out of it. But I also stand here as the president of a foundation, whose donor, Ewing Kauffman, appreciated the contributions entrepreneurs make to our economy and society.

Read the entire transcript of the State Of Entrepreneurship Address

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