March 23, 2003


Joi Ito is concerned about lack of entrepreneurship in Japan.

The EU summit this week has made this one of their main points:

From the Presidency Conclusions:

"12. To push ahead with reform, the European Council identifies the following priorities:


- Giving priority to innovation and entrepreneurship. Europe has a vast innovation potential. but it needs to do more to turn ideas into real value-added. Boosting the interaction between industry and research institutions is at the heart of realising our entrepreneurial potential. The industrial sector is a vital source of growth and employment and will continue to play an important role in the knowledge-based economy. The right conditions for R&D need to be developed. in particular by businesses. so the EU can move towards its R&D investment target of approaching 3% of GDP. Measures must be taken to facilitate market entry and exit for businesses of all sizes, improve access to finance and know-how, improve regulation and reduce administrative burdens. Action is also needed to encourage the spirit of enterprise among young people.

Fostering enterprise and entrepreneurship

22. Dynamic and competitive industry and services are needed to sustain growth and prosperity in an enlarged Europe. Further efforts at the EU and national levels are needed to improve the overall business environment for all sectors, including tourism, reduce the administrative and regulatory burden on business and in particular encourage small firms to start-up and grow. It is also essential to promote the culture of entrepreneurship by motivating individuals and encouraging society to value entrepreneurial success. Finally, attention must be paid to re-establishing public trust in business by encouraging responsible corporate governance.

23. Against this background, the European Council:

- urges Member States to participate actively in the consultation process following the presentation of the Commission's Green Paper on "Entrepreneurship in Europe" and invites the Commission to propose as a follow-up a European entrepreneurship Action Plan before the 2004 Spring European Council, with special attention paid to making business start-ups easier and quicker, facilitating access to low-cost finance, in particular venture capital, and micro-credits, and improving bankruptcy legislation;

- invites Member States to develop initiatives to foster entrepreneurship more actively through the education system and to promote the value of entrepreneurship in society at large, including by setting up EU-wide entrepreneurship awards in collaboration with employers organisations;

- encourages Member States to speed up the implementation of the European Charter for Small Enterprises in an innovative way in order to ensure a more effective involvement and consultation of small businesses in the policy-making process; lend it greater focus, making full use of possibilities offered by appropriate national targets and peer review, for example in speeding up the process to set up and register a new business.

The Green Paper "Entrepreneurship in Europe" is here. The Commission is soliciting comments until June 30, 2003.

Posted by Karl-Friedrich Lenz at March 23, 2003 06:09 PM | TrackBack

The thing is, entrepreneurism is an elusive thing. Many people recognize the need, but it's really hard to cause it to occur without many fundamental changes in societies that don't currently have much of it.

Posted by: Joi Ito on March 23, 2003 09:27 PM

I agree that it is probably difficult.

But on the other hand, having the top of the government understand the strategic value of that question is a step in the right direction.

Posted by: Karl-Friedrich Lenz on March 23, 2003 11:13 PM

Dear Sirs, I have a question.

Q.: Is "enterprise" as firm or company? Or in this notion "Fostering enterprise and entrepreneurship" ENTERPRISE has the broader sense?

Thank you.

Stasys Gerdvila

Posted by: Stasys on April 14, 2004 08:39 PM

Enterprise is quite close in meaning to "firm or company". "Entrepreneurship refers to the process of setting up new businesses. I don't think one of the terms is much broader than the other.

Posted by: Karl-Friedrich Lenz on April 15, 2004 08:48 PM
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