Entrepreneurs built America. Research by The Kauffman Foundation suggests that all of the net job creation is coming from newly created companies. If we want lower unemployment, it seems like one sensible approach would be to do whatever we can to encourage more people to start companies. “In a free society, you get what you celebrate,” quipped famous inventor Dean Kamen. And while we celebrate pro athletes and entertainers and have Boss’s Day and Secretary’s Day, there has never been a day set aside to celebrate entrepreneurship.
Earlier this month President Obama signed a proclamation declaring November National Entrepreneurship Month and declaring the 16th of November to be National Entrepreneurs’ Day:
America is known around the world as a country that empowers the inventor and the innovator. Ours is a Nation where men and women can take a chance on a dream — where they can take an idea that starts around a kitchen table or in a garage and turn it into a new business or a new industry. During National Entrepreneurship Month, we celebrate the hard work, ingenuity, and courage of our thinkers, doers, and makers.
National Entrepreneurs’ Day is the brainchild of Siamak Taghaddos & David Hauser, co-founders of Grasshopper and Amir Tehrani, co-founder of The Legacy Foundation (disclosure: I’m involved with The Legacy Foundation). The idea arose after a trip they took to the White House to discuss entrepreneurship and issues affecting business leaders. After meeting with administration officials and discussing programs like Startup America and the Presidential Innovation Fellows, which encourage entrepreneurship, it struck them that there wasn’t an officially recognized day celebrating entrepreneurs. And with that, the idea for National Entrepreneurs’ Day was born.
So why is this important? First, it seems that anything that brings more attention to entrepreneurship is a great thing. Sadly, our schools do not do a good enough job of encouraging people to become entrepreneurs. It’s just the beginning for National Entrepreneurs’ Day, but the long-term potential impact could be tremendous.
Dream with me for just a second. Imagine in a few years teachers using this day to communicate what an entrepreneur is and what an entrepreneur does. Maybe that teacher would share with their students some stories of famous entrepreneurs or have them brainstorm businesses that they may want to start one day. Did your school ever have a day like that? I know mine didn’t.
Perhaps it becomes a day of mentoring, where experienced entrepreneurs spend time helping out younger entrepreneurs. The impact of startup accelerators like Y Combinator, TechStars and others shows the power of entrepreneurial mentorship. If everyone who had ever started a successful company set aside one day a year to help those just getting started on their entrepreneurial journey, the impact could be significant.
Or maybe Entrepreneurs’ Day simply becomes a day when people take a minute to appreciate the efforts of entrepreneurs. Look around you right now. The laptop or smartphone you’re reading this on. The clothes you’re wearing. The car in your driveway. These things exist because of the vision and efforts of entrepreneurs. If you’re an entrepreneur wouldn’t it be cool to have a day when people acknowledge your efforts to change the world? And if you aren’t an entrepreneur, surely you know someone who is and who would love a nod of appreciation or word of encouragement.
This isn’t meant to sound cheesy. After all, if anyone shrugs off platitudes more readily than others, it’s entrepreneurs. But if we indeed get what we celebrate and if more entrepreneurship means more jobs (among other benefits) then it seems like celebrating entrepreneurship is one of the most logical and productive things we can do.
For more information on National Entrepreneurs’ Day, visit the website.
[Image via Flickr]