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How many entrepreneurs does it take to change a nation?

Moving countries into the entrepreneurial economy is definitely in vogue. It's one thing to promote entrepreneurship ...

By Tim Davis 01 December 2006

Moving countries into the entrepreneurial economy is definitely in vogue. It's one thing to promote entrepreneurship; it's another to measure real progress. Tim Davis explains why such measurement is critical.
How many entrepreneurs does it take to change a nationEntrepreneurship is a hot topic. It is a popular focus for policy makers, academic researchers and students, too. Entrepreneurship commands prime time television space, both for serious, public affairs shows and entertaining “reality” programs. Virtually everyone agrees that entrepreneurship is a good thing. The entrepreneurial character of individuals, or entire economies, is a matter of pride for politicians and often the general public as well. Moreover, and perhaps most crucially, analysts and policymakers consider entrepreneurs as important drivers for employment, productivity and economic growth.

Given the interest in entrepreneurship, it is not surprising that there are frequently debates about which academic discipline is best able to enhance the understanding of the subject. Sociologists feel they are best equipped to analyse the behavioural characteristics that lead to entrepreneurial activity while economists argue that basic theories of supply and demand help explain the processes that result in entrepreneurship. When the dust settles on these academic debates, though, most agree that entrepreneurship really is a multifaceted subject that requires a multidisciplinary approach. Thus experts from psychology, sociology, economics, management and many other disciplines are all making useful contributions to the understanding of this complex phenomenon called entrepreneurship. Yet, everyone involved is facing a huge challenge: how to measure whether countries are growing more entrepreneurs and whether such growth is also making for stronger national economies.

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