The Economist lays it out: Europe’s entrepreneurial crisis goes back decades

28 Jul


There’s a must-read piece on the crisis in European entrepreneurship in The Economist this week. But before you go and pore over it, I’ll warn you: brace yourself, because it’s not going to leave you entering the weekend with a warm and fuzzy feeling.

It’s stuffed with factoids that may well induce depression. For example, not only were most of Europe’s biggest companies were built out of the industrial revolution but in fact continental Europe has produced just one of the world’s top 500 companies over the last 30 years (California alone, by comparison, has produced 26).

Europe produces plenty of corner shops, hairdressers and so on. What it doesn’t produce enough of is innovative companies that grow quickly and end up big. In 2003, analysing Europe’s entrepreneurial gap, the European Commission cited a study which showed that during the 1990s, 19% of mid-sized firms in America were classified as…

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