Entrepreneurs Critical Piece of Economic Picture

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Low taxes, manageable regulations and few obstacles to entering the business world are keys to encouraging small business growth around the world, a federal economist said last week.

"Countries around the global are discovering how important small business is for their growth and long-term economic health. Their policies toward entrepreneurship differ, but the results of similar policies are consistent,” Chad Moutray, chief economist of the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy, told an audience at Cornell University on Thursday.

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Moutray was announcing the release of a report, “Global Perspectives on Entrepreneurship Policy,” which stemmed from discussions at the International Council for Small Business annual meeting in June. The report concludes that fewer impediments lead to small business growth and job creation.

Entrepreneurs are an important part of the country's economic health. Small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms, the Office of Advocacy reported in the 2005 Small Business FAQ. Small businesses generate more than 50 percent of the nonfarm private gross domestic product.

The report also said that very small firms (fewer than 20 employees) spend 45 percent more per employee than the largest firms to comply with federal regulations.

The obstacles to starting a small business can be overcome, with some talented entrepreneurs reaping benefits that are more than financial.

In Kansas City, a small company called Tri-Med Specialties began marketing a product developed in the late 1980s by Barry Marshall, an Australian researcher who won the 2005 Nobel Prize in medicine. The product detected the bacterium that caused most ulcers, and 10 years later, the company was sold for $32 million, the Kansas City Business Journal reported.

"Doctors often are very entrepreneurial, and many physicians here regionally are already engaged as angel investors in various companies," said Bill Duncan, president of the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute Inc. "They're driven by a genuine interest in helping people, and they're typically well-versed in whatever they might invest in, which gives them a bit of an edge."

Lori Spivey, who owns a financial services firm called Financial Directions with her husband, has been active in the Council for Entrepreneurial Development. She said the greatest obstacle to growth is managing expectations “both of others as well as your own.”

“I can't tell you how many people assume that because I work with my husband we must be operating out of our garage or bedroom. And to think, previously, I had a successful career as a partner with an international accounting firm! It takes a while to establish and reinforce that you are a professional and serious about building a company,” she told Local TechWire.com.

“Building a business is an around-the-clock commitment with high points as well as obstacles," Spivey added. "But if you like challenges and have a high energy level, it is the only way to go.”

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