Early this year, an op-ed column by Thomas L. Friedman in The New York Times caught our eye. Titled "More (Steve) Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs," it was a call to action. Barack Obama, Friedman wrote, "should make the centerpiece of his presidency mobilizing a million new start-up companies that won't just give us temporary highway jobs, but lasting good jobs that keep America on the cutting edge."
We couldn't agree more. For 30 years, Inc. has been covering how entrepreneurs form companies, how they operate them, and what separates the most successful of them from the rest. In every issue, we publish stories that speak to the interests of our readers, the founders and principals of entrepreneurial companies.
Friedman's column struck us as an opportunity to step out of our usual way of doing things and report on the importance of entrepreneurship from a larger economic perspective. Companies create jobs; more companies create more jobs; and recently formed, fast-growing companies create the most jobs. Here's a little exercise we did as we produced this issue: We added up all the jobs created by the 99 companies mentioned in it. We counted about 22,000. More new companies is exactly what this country needs.
President Obama is a busy man, so we thought we would tap the intelligence and expertise of the Inc. staff; put two really good reporters on the case; talk to some very smart people; and, taking up Friedman's challenge, come up with a blueprint for creating a more entrepreneurial America. Over the course of several months, we discovered successful programs that should be adopted nationally; legislation that could help spur innovation; and incentives that would launch more young people, women, disadvantaged people, and people from other countries into the ranks of company owners. Some of these initiatives are government-dependent, others come from the nonprofit world, still others have boiled up from private enterprise. All would help our nation prosper economically.
There's yet another aspect of entrepreneurship that we could use more of these days, and that's the optimism, excitement, energy, and sense of adventure that come with the territory. Month after month, we editors and writers and producers of Inc. are inspired by the passion and purpose behind entrepreneurial enterprises. A million new companies would help move our national mood toward something closer to positive. What's not to like?