Entrepreneurship is ultimately a win for everyone. When a new business takes root and finds success, it can obviously be life-altering for the entrepreneur, and just as surely, the provision of new products and services is a boon to consumers. But in an even broader sense, entrepreneurship benefits everyone: When entrepreneurs set up shop, they create new economic stimulus, buying opportunities, and tax revenues for the nation in which they operate.
To put it simply: Entrepreneurship is good for national economic growth—which makes it not too surprising at all to find more and more national governments competing for global talents.
In many ways, this is the most significant form of international business competition in 2015: National governments trying to lure enterprising business-starters from foreign soil onto their own, poaching them from their mother countries in hopes of harnessing some of these economic benefits.
This is one of the rare issues on which there is widespread political agreement. Though general immigration laws remain a sticking point in U.S. politics, most everyone agrees that the targeted approach to encouraging the immigration of specific, talented entrepreneurs is beneficial.
It makes sense, even if it may also seem easier said than done. How, in the end, does one country compete with another to bring over entrepreneurs of foreign origin?
For answers, look no further than to the nation of Chile; whose national government has done much to draw thinkers, inventors, and business launchers from other parts of the world. To encourage these expatriates, the Chilean government has implemented an over-arching entrepreneurial incubation program that essentially boils down to two things: Money and travel visas.
On the one hand, Chile has awarded significant grant money to enterprising young business starters who are willing to bring their ideas to that nation. At the same time, these entrepreneurs are awarded travel visas to ensure their stay in Chile is comfortable and relatively hassle-free.
Of course, programs like this one are not unique to Chile, nor are they without some minor problems of their own. For one thing, there is a certain level of infrastructure needed to ensure that grant applications are reviewed and that only truly promising people are accepted into the program—but of course, the economic benefits of homegrown entrepreneurship more than offset these infrastructural costs.
When it comes to attracting foreign entrepreneurs, some countries have built-in advantages. Simply put, it’s easier to obtain bank loans and conduct other transactions in some nations as opposed to others, something that doubtless gives a leg up to the United States, Canada, and even Great Britain, among others.
Other issues are more cultural. Even grant money and a work visa can be unpersuasive if the entrepreneur simply does not want to live in a new land for an extended period of time, something that’s likely when there is a stiff language requirement. Multi-cultural and multi-linguistic countries have the advantage, though even here cultural hurdles can arise.
Something else that entrepreneurs must consider is the nation’s global profile, its level of prestige. The United States, Canada, China, Japan—all are nations that have a certain reputation for innovation and an entrepreneurial bent. Investors looking for the next big thing look here, which provides entrepreneurs in these nations a good platform for turning their ideas into concrete realities.
In a nation like Chile, that reputation for innovation is not quite there yet, though perhaps the current efforts at entrepreneurial development will foster it. That’s the catch-22 that many countries now face: They need to develop a better reputation for supporting entrepreneurs, but to do so they first have to actually coax entrepreneurs to set up shop on their soil.
For entrepreneurs, of course, these are exciting times. More and more, it seems like the opportunities are endless; and for anyone who has a brilliant idea, there may well be several governments vying for the rights to help launch it.