In Entrepreneurs We Trust

Posted by: Spencer Ante on February 11, 2009

Trust may be the most scarce commodity around right now.

Wall Street can’t be trusted much these days, thanks to the financial crisis and a guy named Madoff. A lot of corporate executives haven’t done much to inspire trust. People have never much trusted their politicians. And even seemingly harmless athletes are finding ways to lose the trust of the public.

So who can you trust these days? Friends and family, of course. But beyond that close circle, I would say that in the public sphere entrepreneurs still deserve to be trusted. Entrepreneurs represent the very best of America: They work very hard, they often develop products and services that improve our lives, and they create jobs that help our communities and the nation at large.

doriotbucks.jpg

So as the nation continues to try to dig ourselves out of this deep hole, it seems like government should be looking for ways to help entrepreneurs and small businessmen and businesswomen. Entrepreneurship flourishes in a climate of economic freedom, with low taxes and little regulation. And yet you hear very little about entrepreneurs in the discussion about the stimulus package and in talk about the economy. Wall Street firms and banks and Detroit seem to hog most of the attention.

But it’s the startups from Silicon Valley and other small businesses that will likely play a key role in reviving our animal spirits and lifting us out of this recession. Thomas Friedman of the New York Times wrote a great and timely column today related to this issue when he slammed the Senate’s version of the stimulus, which banned banks and other financial institutions that receive taxpayer bailout money from hiring high-skilled immigrants on temporary work permits known as H1-B visas. More than half of Silicon Valley startups were founded by immigrants over the last decade. It is dumb and shortsighted to keep these industrious and smart folks out of our country—a subject I’ve written about before at BusinessWeek.

The Doriot bucks above inspired me to write this post. General Doriot, the founding father of venture capital, was all about supporting entrepreneurs—from across the globe. Doriot used to give out this fake money at the annual meetings of his venture capital firm, American Research & Development. Last year, Scott Kirsner of the Boston Globe was kind enough to send me a few of them. And now I am happy to share them with you because they symbolize a vital part of our economy that needs to be supported.

- Spencer Ante also publishes the Creative Capital blog. Click here to see more.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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