This is not conjecture, rather the findings of a study entitled "The Importance of Young Firms for Economic Growth", published by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City. The Kauffman Foundation, a $2 billion charitable organization focused on entrepreneurship, reports that over a 30-year study period, large companies created jobs when the economy was growing and eliminated jobs when the economy weakened. "Both on average and for all but seven years between 1977 and 2005, existing firms are net job destroyers," writes author Jason Wiens and Chris Jackson.
Startups, the very earliest stage companies, defined in the report as "firms less than one year old" accounted for three percent of total employment from 1980-2005, which seem s a modest number. Yet, given that the average annual net employment growth over th same period was 1.8 percent, the data suggest without the jobs from startups, employment growth would be negative.
If the question before us is 'How do we generate economic development and diversification?' (in other words, jobs), then the clear answer is startups. However, that answer begs the question, 'How do we generate startups?'. In order to solve the proverbial chicken and egg paradox, which comes first the startups or early stage capital, our region should rely on our trump card, Southwest Florida's retired and semi-retired high net worth individuals. Collier County lays claim to the highest per capita concentration of accredited investors across all 67 counties in Florida.
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