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Scale Up Milwaukee Press Conference: March 28, 2013


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Scale Up Milwaukee Press Conference: March 28, 2013

  1. 1.   __________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________   231  Forest  Street,  Babson  Park,  MA  02457  USA  +1  (781)  239-­‐6290           OPEN  for  Enterprise  in  Milwaukee   Daniel  Isenberg,  Professor  of  Entrepreneurship  Practice,  Babson  Global   Executive  Director,  Babson  Entrepreneurship  Ecosystem  Project   March  28,  2013       Good  morning  to  everyone,  Governor  Walker,  Mayor  Barrett,  Julia  Taylor,  Mike  Lovell  of  UWM,  Randi   Schochet,  and  all  of  the  guests  and  members  of  the  media.  Let  me  start  by  saying  that  I  am  honored  and   humbled  to  be  a  part  of  this  new  OPEN  For  Enterprise  project,  starting  in  Milwaukee.  Although  I  was   born   close   by   in   Chicago   (longer   ago   than   I   care   to   think   about)   and   visited   Wisconsin’s   lakes   for   vacations  as  a  3-­‐year-­‐old,  I  am  a  complete  newcomer  and  well  aware  of  the  fact  that  I  have  a  lot  to   learn.    I  am  here  in  Israel  for  Passover  with  my  kids,  something  I  could  not  change  to  be  with  you.     I  have  been  engaged  in  almost  every  aspect  of  entrepreneurship  over  the  past  three  decades,  as  an   educator,  researcher,  author,  entrepreneur,  venture  capitalist,  angel  investor,  and  as  a  change  agent   and   policy   advisor.   I   mention   those   things   not   to   boast,   actually,   quite   the   opposite:   because   that   experience,   formulas   for   fostering   entrepreneurship   don’t   exist.   We   do   know   that   when   entrepreneurship  takes  root  and  grows  in  any  region,  such  as  it  appears  to  have  done  in  Milwaukee’s   past,  as  well  as  present  to  some  extent,  it  is  an  incredibly   powerful  force,  spinning  off  employment,   creating  wealth,  contributing  taxes,  and  even  boosting  innovation,  inclusion,  and  philanthropy.     Yet,  despite  its  intrinsic  elusiveness  (it  is  the  “job”  of  entrepreneurs,  so  to  speak,  to  surprise  the  market)   we  do  know  a  few  things  about  entrepreneurship  in  society,  some  of  which  may  be  surprising.     -­‐ One  is  that  we  know  that  it  is  actually  a  very  small  number  of  high  growth  ventures  which  spin   off  the  huge  majority  of  all  of  the  potential  social  and  economic  benefits  of  entrepreneurship.   The  latest  and  growing  evidence  from  many  countries  around  the  world  is  very  clear  that  small   business  per  se  does  not  do  it  even  though  it  is  important.  It  is  a  small  number  of  young  and   rapidly  growing  businesses  that  contribute  jobs  and  wealth  and  taxes  disproportionately.   -­‐ Second,  these  ventures  can  come  from  anywhere,  the  often  defy  logic.  They  can  come  from  any   sector,   be   it   technology,   services,   manufacturing,   innovation,   copycat,   trade,   finance—from   anything  conceivable,  and  a  few  things  that  are  inconceivable  perhaps.   -­‐ Third,  we  know  that  there  is  no  society  that  is  devoid  of  entrepreneurship  –  the  drive  to  grow,  to   achieve,   the   ambition   to   innovate,   make   an   impact   on   markets   and   society   are   ubiquitous.   Entrepreneurship.   I   have   come   to   believe,   is   part   of   the   human   condition.   I   have   been   to   numerous  of  regions  where  they  have  told  me,  “we  don’t  have  the  entrepreneurial  spirit.  We   used  to,  maybe,  but  we  have  lost  it.”  But  every  time  I  have  looked  hard,  it  is  there,  lurking  under   the  surface,  with  the  potential  to  burst  out  and  express  itself.   -­‐ Fourth,  that  means  that  our  biggest  challenge  together,  is  to  help  foster  the  conditions,  which  I   call  an  entrepreneurship  ecosystem,  in  which  that  completely  natural  human  endeavor  can  be   unleashed,  and  that  ventures  can  grow  rapidly  and  scale  up.  Now  it  probably  won’t  surprise  you   to   hear   me   say   again   that   there   is   no   pat   recipe–   fostering   entrepreneurship   is   not   an   engineering  problem  like  building  a  bridge  or  canal.  It  is  a  cultivation  problem,  and  yes,  it  can  be   fostered,  accelerated,  and  catalyzed.  
  2. 2.   __________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________   231  Forest  Street,  Babson  Park,  MA  02457  USA  +1  (781)  239-­‐6290   -­‐ Fifth,   it   turns   out,   that   start-­‐up   is   relatively   easy   compared   to   scale-­‐up.   That   is   why   we   are   tentatively  calling  your  project  Scale-­‐Up  Milwaukee.  Of  course,  without  Start-­‐ups  you  cant  have   scale-­‐ups,  but  we  have  to  develop  and  maintain  a  clear  focus  on  the  end  goal  –  it  is  scale,  about   aspiration,  about  growth.     -­‐ Sixth,  this  is  Milwaukee’s  project  and  you  will  have  to  name  it.  You  will  have  to  drive  it.  We  can   help,  I  think  we  can  help  a  lot.  But  one  of  our  early  tasks  is  going  to  be  to  help  facilitate  common   understandings,   engagement   and   alignment   of   vision   among   a   broad   group   of   stakeholders,   including   private   sector   actors,   investors,   entrepreneurs,   educators,   large   corporations,   government,   community   groups   and   so   on.   My   impression   –   forgive   me   if   I   am   wrong,   but   I   spend  all  of  my  time  in  cities  throughout  the  world  –  is  that  just  one  of  the  assets  I  think  exists   here  is  the  collaborative  atmosphere  among  various  private  and  public  sector  groups.  I  am  not   saying  that  it  is  a  paradise,  but  it  is  something  that  I  do  not  take  for  granted.   -­‐ Finally,  I  realize  that  there  are  many  open  questions  about  what  and  who  and  where  and  how.  I   will  be  in  Milwaukee  in  mid-­‐April  and  we  will  have  an  official  kick-­‐off  on  May  6.    I  am  excited   about  working  with  you  to  address  and  invent  answers  to  these  questions.  From  my  experience   in  other  cities,  it  will  require  experimentation,  confidence,  commitment  and  collaboration.  An   entrepreneurship   ecosystem   cannot   be   created.   It   is   not   an   engineering   problem,   it   is   a   cultivation  problem.  Thank  you  for  the  opportunity  to  work  with  you  to  cultivate  Milwaukee’s   natural  entrepreneurial  assets.       ____________________________________________________________________________________     Daniel  Isenberg  is  a  Babson  Global  Professor  of  Entrepreneurship  Practice  and  the  founding  executive   director   of   the   Babson   Entrepreneurship   Ecosystem   Project   (BEEP).   His   new   book   is   Worthless   Impossible  and  Stupid:  How  Contrarian  Entrepreneurs  Create  and  Capture  Extraordinary  Value  (Harvard   Business  Press,  July  2013).    BEEP  creates  projects  around  the  world  to  foster  substantially  greater  levels   of  entrepreneurship  in  specific  regions.  Daniel  is  also  Adjunct  Professor  at  Columbia  Business  School  and   teaches  Innovation  for  Economic  Development  at  the  Harvard  Kennedy  School,  and  has  been  a  visiting   professor   at   Insead,   Reykjavik   University,   and   the   Technion.   He   has   been   a   venture   capitalist   and   entrepreneur,   and   is   an   active   angel   investor.   For   more   information,   visit   www.entrepreneurial-­‐   and   entrepreneurial.revolution   or   contact   Dr.   Isenberg   at   Daniel   Isenberg  has  a  Ph.D.  in  social  psychology  from  Harvard  University.