National Dialogue on Entrepreneurship

Not All Entrepreneurs are Created Equal

High-growth businesses�sometimes known as gazelles—are the real drivers of innovation and economic growth in our economy. A recent Ohio State University study makes a similar claim about the role of entrepreneurs in Ohio�s rural economy. The study begins with the basic premise that many self-employment ventures emerge out of necessity, not out of a desire to exploit a business opportunity. As a result, many of these ventures contribute little to region�s economic prosperity. The research finds that increases in self-employment do appear to be contributing to rural job growth in Ohio, but it is not yet clear whether these newly created jobs provide sufficient wages and benefits to improve local quality of life. The report cautions that state and local governments should be cautious before implementing major new initiatives to provide grants or other financing to these new ventures. However, the study does recommend that policymakers act to remove barriers to entrepreneurs and also work to improve the local business climate for new and growing companies.

Download the January 2008 Ohio State University Swank Program in Urban-Rural Policy study, �Growth and Change: Does Enhancing Ohio�s Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs Provide the Key to Growth,� by Mark D. Partridge, Ayesha Enver, and Jill K. Clark.

Gazelle Solo Entrepreneurs

While some self-employment ventures struggle to make ends meet, others hit the big time quickly. An interesting new Information Week article takes a closer look at the phenomenon of solo entrepreneurs who earn more than $1 million per year. These companies share several characteristics. Most importantly, they all rely heavily on the web, high speed computing, and new mobile technologies. In fact, they could probably not succeed without these base technology solutions. Most of these entrepreneurs seem to loathe traditional management tasks, and have little interest in building a large operation. However, that does not mean that they don�t want to make money. They just want to do it on their own terms. The article also includes interesting profiles of successful solo firms such as, a distributor of steam shower systems, and Plenty of Fish, a popular on-line dating site.

�Solo Entrepreneurs: Big Bucks from Tiny Computing Start-ups,� by Alice LePlante, appeared in the March 18, 2008 issue of Information Week.