In Egypt, the all-entrepreneurship, all-the-time Kauffman Foundation’s Dane Stangler and Bob Litan say, revitalization in the post-Mubarak era “can start by making it easier to start and operate a business.” Yes. This is why I love those Kansas City guys. In Egypt, give ‘em entrepreneurship. I’d go two steps further:
1) @lajump, aka Leslie, rightly pointed out that the private sector has an important role too. While the government is key to reducing red tape and facilitating start-ups, the Egyptian private sector must help by opening up its networks and taking risks on promising enterprises. “I am ready to put more money in,” Egyptian billionaire and telecom titan Naguib Sawiris told Businessweek. Recognizing that it was the source of pain, he believes in “spreading” the country’s prosperity. That will be key in order to protect his own.
2) Celebrate the ones that are there, but make sure that everyone knows about it. Everyone wants to guide an entrepreneur and tell him or her how to do it. What about telling the rest of us how he or she did it? We in the West do it through publications such as Fast Company, Inc. Entrepreneur and entire newspaper sections devoted to the topic. The same is not true in the developing world. As a development and media junkie, I’m dismayed by the absence of entrepreneurship coverage in places like Egypt. The stories of the incredible Egyptian men and women that have launched enterprises have the power others to believe in their ideas. Perhaps that will inspire them to become entrepreneurs. Better yet, perhaps it will inspire them to become writers, architects, designers and anthropologists (see earlier post). Reading about someone turning an idea into reality builds confidence.
Journalism training is a must anywhere, anytime. In this post-Mubarak era it an opportunity to equip Egypt’s talented reporters with the skills to report on entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. Reuters, the Soros Foundation and the European Center for Journalism are organizations doing just that. The fourth estate made all the difference in the French Revolution. Let’s make sure it does the same in the Egyptian one.