Richard Straub, Senior Advisor IBM Global Education Industry & "Director of Corporate Services & EU Affairs", EFMD.
In his landmark book Innovation and Entrepreneurship, published in 1985, Peter Drucker described the tectonic shift that he perceived in its early stages—the move from an employee society toward an entrepreneurial society. This shift was, and still is, being driven by unstoppable forces such as changing demographics and ever-hastening advances in information and communication technology.
As Drucker lays out what this new society should look like, he builds upon another great thinker of Austrian origin, Joseph Schumpeter, who had positioned the entrepreneur at the heart of capitalism – as the life force of a market-based, competitive, dynamic and wealth-creating economy. The question for Europe is: Has this sea change happened? Have we seen enough “creative destruction” to meet Drucker’s vision? Have we seen enough new companies and industries emerging from Europe during the past 50 years and taking leading positions in global markets? Regrettably the answer is a resounding “no.”
With an overblown social protection system and a state that has become in a number of countries obese and suffocating, it has become more difficult for entrepreneurs to develop and sustain their businesses. France provides a sad example of a nation that adheres to an anti-business and anti-entrepreneurship attitude, with a president who does not like those who were successful and hence may have made some money; “les riches” are despised and insulted by media and large parts of the public.
In a recent seminar for the Board of the European Institute of Technology and Innovation -the first broad-based entrepreneurial venture to receive seed funding by the European Commission – the challenges for an entrepreneurial Europe were laid on the table...