Wednesday, 2 September  

The Entrepreneurial Society in Europe

Prof. David Audretsch opened the kick-off conference with a keynote address.

According to him globalization and increasing competition forced first the US and now Europe into a more entrepreneurial economy and society. 

Entrepreneurial Economy in US

Prof. Audretsch gave a historical account of how the US was struggling to face up to competition from Europe and Asia in the 80s. And how, despite efforts to revive the old, managed industrial economy, the engine of growth turned out to be the vibrant entrepreneurial economy that emerged in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. Although there were policies supporting this, at the time there was no intended design. The entrepreneurial economy emerged more than it was the result of supporting policy initiatives 

Transformation in Germany

Germany and more specifically Berlin saw a similar transformation. After reunification Eastern Germany saw its old industry wiped out. Unemployment was high and German was the “sick man of Europe” for nearly a decade. But in 2004 Germany implemented a reform agenda that made labor more flexible, reformed education, incentivized self-employment and entrepreneurship, increased R&D and intrapreneurship. Push and pull factors came together and Berlin was exemplary. It was “arm aber sexy” and attracted creative, entrepreneurial talent from all over former East and West Germany. The initial thrust was perhaps not policy induced, but policies and institutional reform helped Berlin evolve in what it is today: the entrepreneurial capital of Germany, Europe and perhaps the world.