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Started with one Lincoln, limousine service now has more than 30 vehicles.
RALEIGH – On the day her divorce became final in 1990, Carrie Peele charged a total of $15,000 on three credit cards to buy a blue, 1986 Lincoln Town Car.
Peele wasn’t going on an emotional spending spree to boost her spirits. Instead, she was founding a business.
Thus was born Blue Diamond Limousines & Sedans, which provides transportation services to customers ranging from visiting celebrities to out-of-town executives to teenagers on prom night. Back then, Peele was the sole employee, the blue car was the only one available – and it didn’t take Peele long to regret her choice of hues.
If you think you only need a business plan to go fishing for capital, you are sorely mistaken.
A business plan--thoughtfully assembled and diligently updated--is the very blueprint for any company. It sets direction, facilitates communication and establishes performance metrics. Better yet, well-articulated business plans force business owners to constantly weigh the strengths and weaknesses of their operations.
Fifty-three billion smackers. That's how much telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helu, the wealthiest human on the planet, is worth by Forbes' latest exhaustive count. (Actually, the tally was $53.5 billion--when you're dealing in 10 digits, every decimal place counts.)
Those kinds of numbers can't help but make you think: What exactly does it take to amass that kind of wealth? More important, do you have it?
Why the Hurt Locker is an excellent example of film making entrepreneurship.
For the third time in three years, the world has a new richest man.
Riding surging prices of his various telecom holdings, including giant mobile outfit America Movil, Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim Helu has beaten out Americans Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to become the wealthiest person on earth and nab the top spot on the 2010 Forbes list of the World's Billionaires.
Slim's fortune has swelled to an estimated $53.5 billion, up $18.5 billion in 12 months. Shares of America Movil, of which Slim owns a $23 billion stake, were up 35% in a year.
By 2015 there will be 500 million people under age 30 in China--roughly the population of the entire European Union. And they aren't idolizing Lei Feng, a devoted follower of Mao. They are looking to figures such as Bill Gates and Michael Dell, says Ge Dingkun, a professor of entrepreneurship at China Europe International Business School in Shanghai.
Young people, barely a generation removed from Chairman Mao's strict communism, are embracing entrepreneurship. The incomes of twenty-somethings in China grew 34% in the past three years, the largest growth of any age group, according to a survey by Credit Suisse. While large industries in China--such as banking, steel, telecommunications and electricity generation--are still essentially state-owned, a growing chunk of new wealth being created comes from the hard work and vision of scrappy upstarts.
So we know that entrepreneurs are the primary engines of job creation in the United States. Research study after research study has confirmed that it is young firms that drive improvements in the employment situation. From 1980–2005, firms less than five years old accounted for all net job growth in the country. In 2007 alone, young firms (1-5 years old) accounted for nearly two-thirds of job creation. We also know more than half of the companies on the 2009 Fortune 500 list were launched during a recession or bear market, along with nearly half of the firms on the 2008 Inc. list of America’s fastest-growing companies. In light of all this evidence and in face of the employment crisis in the country, how can we truly support the entrepreneurs behind these young firms?
When President Obama will deliver his first State of the Union address is still unclear. However, with 80 percent of the population believing that new economic growth and jobs will come from entrepreneurs, discussion around what his address should include in terms of policies that encourage new start-ups is already underway.
We have long argued that the American model for development assistance could improve dramatically if entrepreneurship becomes a stronger element of economic development efforts. Unfortunately, the importance of new firm creation is a concept that has yet to gain relevance in traditional development models, such as the Washington Consensus. However, there are a few actors who understand the power of entrepreneurship and have been using it to improve lives. Diaspora entrepreneurs are using their experience and understanding about entrepreneurship to invest in new ventures in their country of origin. These transnational entrepreneurs view a globe of porous borders.
Under the Immigration Act of 1990, the U.S. Congress set aside 10,000 annual visas for foreign investors looking for opportunities in America. Those carrots are coming in handy during what remains a debilitating credit crunch for U.S. entrepreneurs. Rather than wait a year or longer for other immigrant visas, foreign investors--through the so-called EB-5 program--can snag a slice of equity and a quick-and-dirty U.S. visa in just three-to-six months; plus, unlike other immigrant visas that might expire in a few years, the EB-5 flavor offers permanent residency. EB-5 minimum requirements: a $1 million investment from a lawful source in a new or existing commercial enterprise that directly creates at least 10 U.S. jobs. Investors can put up as little as $500,000 if the company is in a rural area or in a county sporting 150% of the average national unemployment rate. (Canada has a similar program, called the Canadian Business Immigrant Investment Program, though it doesn't impose any job-creation requirements.)
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