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Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. –H.L. Mencken

The Bob Marley School of Business


Coach me, mon.

en·tre·pre·neur

/ˌäntrəprəˈno͝or
Noun

1. A person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on financial risk to do so.

There was an interesting and spirited debate recently between Peter Klein of the Mises Institute and Robert Wenzel of Economic Policy Journal about the nature of entrepreneurship.

Klein is on the “uncertainty-bearing” side while Wenzel is on the “alertness to opportunity” side.

I think there is no black-and-white answer and they both probably have some valid points.

I would surmise, however, that neither would agree that this is entrepreneurship:

Spain Tries To Boost Entrepreneurship

Before we continue, I’ll let you stop laughing at the headline.

This NPR story is about how Spain’s government is “offering help to anyone who wants to start a company in the midst of the country’s recession.” That’s right, the Spanish government, with a 90%+ debt to GDP ratio, is going to give people advice on how to run their businesses profitably.

They start by comparing Spain’s bureaucracy to the US’s, telling us that it takes “an average of 28 days to start a company in Spain, compared to just six in the U.S.”

I suspect these numbers came from the World Bank’s data here, but I’m quite doubtful that anyone could jump through all the bureaucratic hoops in the US to open anything more than a lemonade stand in just 6 days.

But rather than getting rid of the bureaucracy to help entrepreneurs, they just added to it.

One of the “entrepreneurs” they spoke to, Raul Jimenez, told NPR that “you’ve got to create your own world and your own work opportunities because no one is going to do it for you.”

No one, that is, except the Spanish government:

FRAYER: Jimenez was also lucky when he was just starting out to land free office space from the town hall – part of a program to boost entrepreneurship in Spain.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

FRAYER: Rock music blasts from laptops in a 19th century mansion in downtown Madrid, where hipster entrepreneurs are polishing off their business plans. This is what the city calls a business incubator, where it offers free office space for up to a year, plus networking events and tutorials.

Pedro Gonzalez Torroba is a former lawyer who now works for the city coaching entrepreneurs.

Free rent, meet-and-greets, and the best part is a government bureaucrat to help “coach” you in your entrepreneurship. Our fearless reporter tells us that:

FRAYER: On average, half of Spanish start-ups never make it. But those who get this public help have a 95 percent chance of surviving five years. So amid budget cuts, this kind of public investment makes sense, says economist Gonzalo Garland, at Madrid’s IE Business School.

No word as to what happens in year six.

Another of the free-loaders said:

ESPADA: We really need this support because that help us to not think about how are we going to pay the bill for the like, you know…

(LAUGHTER)

ESPADA: …renting this place for the next month.

Spain’s keys to entrepreneurship: Don’t worry, be happy.

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This entry was posted on December 25, 2012 by in Government overreach, I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think It Means and tagged , .

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