Roger Cowdrey - International Business Consultant. Writer & Motivational Speaker
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Government and Entrepreneurship - Oxymoron

Working in a number of countries with very different political structures, I have come to the conclusion that none of the structures are conducive to entrepreneurship.
 
All governments, in one way or another, thrive on control. The whole premise of their existence is that they know best how to tackle all problems. Whether the government verges on dictatorship, or purports to be a democracy, the effect is the same.
 
One of the reasons for this is that governments appear to believe that their only weapon in the conduct of their duties is that of regulation. Regulation invariably means conformity that in itself is counter to the concept of entrepreneurship.
 
According to World Bank statistics, in New Zealand you can start a business in one day; in Canada it takes two days and in Venezuela it takes 144 days. Interestingly, there is one procedure to start a business in New Zealand; two procedures to start a business in Canada and 17 to start a business in Venezuela.
 
But before we start assuming that democracies fare better than other forms of government, it is interesting to note that two of the countries with higher numbers of procedures than most with 9 and 10 respectively are Germany and Malta!
 
My experience has shown that, in some cases, dictatorships inadvertently create SMEs by their very dictatorial actions. By banning things for political reasons they can often create a very lucrative entrepreneurial business niche, albeit a black market one, through stifling the ability to formally supply a demand.
 
What makes these attitudes to SMEs even more difficult to understand is the statistic that there is a need for 600 million jobs in the next 15 years and that 4 out of 5 of these will come from SMEs.
 

Until we recognise the importance of the entrepreneur and the small business community as the important driver for future economic success and resist the pressures of a few big boys; until we recognise that deregulation rather than more regulation is the way to stimulate business formation; until we value the outcome of academic research over the qualification that it leads to; until we realise that conforming, power seeking governments are the block on business growth and not the enabler regardless of government style; the small business and hence the countries will continue to struggle.

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