Governments are usually formed by well-intentioned people that want to creates jobs, generate taxes to use for the public good and so on, but these aims can sometimes run contrary to the needs of entrepreneurs.

Having said that, entrepreneurs and management (or governments and their departments) can, and should, understand each other. The 113 second speech of Barack Obama on January 31, 2011 showed what Governments can do for entrepreneurs.

We believe that if you have an idea and you are willing to work hard enough you can turn this idea into a successful business

No more is needed, but not less either.

Angel García is an entrepreneur who has helped our pockets – not by saving us money but by contributing with his business to eliminating annoying antennas poking out from mobile devices and piercing our pockets. Some other time we might talk about his experience and how he joined Fractus the company that Rubén Bonet, Carles Puente and Sistema Radiantes Moyano had created as a spin-off of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) in 1999. It is a good case example of a technology transfer from a technology born in University and how it is carried to the market.

I wanted to meet Angel because I had been working with a department of a foreign Government on a project for several months. It was my intention to facilitate the creation of an environment of entrepreneurship and I felt the need to share thoughts I was having. Over a croissant in the centre of Barcelona Angel recommended me a book he thought that showed relations between entrepreneurship and Government from the personal experience of the author in some of its chapters.

SOME ADVICES FROM BRAD FELD ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND GOVERNMENT

The book was “Startup Communities”, from Brad Feld. It is an excellent book, which I would recommend, and from which I would like to highlight five concepts related to Governments and entrepreneurship:

  1. Entrepreneurs often fail and they recognize it; Administration leaders rationalize why something wasn’t as it should have gone
  2. Entrepreneurs work bottom up, networked; Governments top down, hierarchically.
  3. Entrepreneurs are focused on the micro; the Government on the macro.
  4. Entrepreneurs focus on action; the leaders of the Government in creating policies.
  5. Entrepreneurs are always looking for impact; the Government seeks for control.

GOVERNMENT AS A FEEDER (NOT A LEADER!)

In the same seemingly contradictory way that skepticism is the best way of achieving knowledge, or that global shrinkage adds value to geographical location, Government plays a key role in entrepreneurship. The key to this is to assume its role as a feeder, not as a leader. Entrepreneurs must not just lean on the activities generated by Government, they should create their own activities, and at the same time, governments and their departments should avoid trying to direct and control an environment of entrepreneurship, as it’s impossible to predict its evolution.

When studying my MBA at IESE, I remember that my tutor, always said he acted upon request. We knew that he was there, came from time to time, but what is most important is that when you needed him he was there. That’s the model that I envision for Government and Entrepreneurship.

Government knows assets in the region where it governs and almost always has the strategic plan that has been prepared for a consultancy firm, but they can’t start it. This is the work of an entrepreneur: ‘If there are opportunities, I’ll take them, but make it easy for me’.

Do you have any experience ofdeveloping projects of entrepreneurship with Governments? Comments?