Sunday, November 20, 2011

Entrepreneurs Come in Many Shapes, Especially in the Emerging Economies.

In the U.S., eighty percent of job growth comes from small and medium sized businesses.  Forty years ago, when Antoine van Agtmael coined the phrase "emerging markets," there was plenty of reason to doubt their emergence.  But a combination of a revolution in ideas and the emergence of Schumpeter's prime mover of capitalism, the entrepreneur, has made the phrase more than a bit of public relations glitz.

The revolution came when intellectuals championed the market rather than the state as the engine of growth.  This led to financial and economic globalization.

Entrepreneurs come in many shapes, especially in the emerging economies.  Here are a few examples through the medium of Wall Street Journal videos:

Can you make money marketing to customers who live in the barrio?

Peru's new middle class give a whole new meaning to the phrase "living in the suburbs."  The neighborhoods surrounding most Latin American cities are shanty towns where families crowd into shacks made of tin, cardboard, and whatever else might be recycled from the society's discards.  Seeing the barrios around Lima with Guillermo Descalzi in 1967 set the course of my professional career.  Had I any doubt that economic development would be what I studied, it disappeared then and there.

The Flores family own a firm called Topitop.  It has become Peru's largest apparel maker with sales of about $200 million by focusing on the region's emerging middle class.  Topitop aspires to be another Zara (2010 worldwide sales of €2.5 billion.)  The Flores family grew up in the poverty of Huancavelica in the Andes.  Learn how the two brothers worked their way from street venders in WSJ's Matt Moffett's report:


One Man Movie Production Company

And then, on the South American pampas, there is Daniel Burmeister, one of the world's most prolific directors. The WSJ's Matt Moffett reports from Coronel Suarez.


India's Struggling Entrepreneurs

The government of Monmohan Singh has done little lately to make it easier to start and grow a business in India.  The Economist comments, "In the face of slowing growth, high inflation and awful corruption, the government is looking increasingly fossilised. No notable legislation has passed since the general election in 2009. Next year Mr Singh turns 80. He needs bright new talents to rediscover his sense of purpose."  WSJ's Amol Sharma' report from Mysore shows how difficult it is for a start-up.  Four years ago, Vishwaprashad Alva quit a high-paying job with GE's healthcare division in India to start his own company, Skanray Technologies. But getting the company off the ground has been a brutal process:


Brooklyn Entrepreneurs Go to Madagascar for Cocoa

Madecasse, the Brooklyn-based gourmet food company, is going to great lengths to find sources of premium cocoa. WSJ's Peter Wonacott reports from Madagascar:


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