Unleashing invention in our schools

What if millions of kids were given the tools to become entrepreneurs?

October 03, 2012|By Jim Clifton and John Hope Bryant

Everyone knows that the United States is in a terrible business slump, and there's no shortage of opinions about it and solutions for it — but there hasn't been much in the way of notable improvement. So we have been looking deeply into the science of human nature to find an answer and a solution, and here is what we know: There are 6 million small businesses, about 100,000 midsized companies, and fewer than 1,000 really big businesses in the United States. In total, they generate right at 100 million real, full-time jobs and just over $15 trillion in sales and production. That is "America's Company," and it has stopped growing.

We found two reasons for it. One, business leaders aren't in a "growth" state of mind. No matter the size of the company, they have lost their will to dream it and build it. Second, the country is seriously short on start-ups. We need a minimum of 2 million start-up companies per year to keep our economy and jobs pumping, but we are running at a measly 400,000 a year. This is a game-over moment. Nothing fixes the United States' economic problems unless the number of start-ups booms to new highs.

We cannot buy, tax or legislate our way to a sudden, world-changing boom of start-ups. But we can mentor and intern our way to one. The future of our economy is to be found in our youth, because the spirit of free enterprise that builds companies, jobs and economies is most likely to be found there.

Read the complete Baltimore Sun Op-Ed here, and share with your communities.  Start the national discussion on the role of hope in the lives of our kids.


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