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Empty Words -

Empty Words

I’ve heard a few politicians in Portugal, including the President, asking entrepreneurs to be the engines of the economic recovery. These are not newcomers, these are people who have been in the political scene for a while, and for those who don’t know, the President himself was prime minister for 10 years during the 90s. So after decades doing nothing or very little to help entrepreneurs, these men now request them to be the saviors of the country. It’s a really wrong approach to the proverb “teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. Instead, these politicians are telling a man to fish without giving him a fishing rod.

I already wrote about how to build an entrepreneurial culture and Portugal has a long way to go until entrepreneurs can be a relevant class. This change won’t happen overnight and we need more than political statements to make it happen.

For years, entrepreneurs have fought an uphill battle due to unnecessary bureaucracy, a dysfunctional judicial system, lack of VC money, and excessive government weight in the economy among others. If we exclude some measures to reduce bureaucracy, nothing has been done to solve these issues. As a result, nothing has substantially changed to promote real entrepreneurship.

My fear is that politicians think that an empty statement will make any difference. It won’t. I feel the situation is changing. Mostly because of the dire economic situation, more people are considering starting their own business, and as I said before, we should take advantage of momentum, wherever it comes from, to promote entrepreneurship. If a domestic economic recession combined with an overheated VC industry abroad can give you that momentum, take it and do something useful with it. Go fix what’s wrong, get yourself out of the way. But please, don’t just say empty words.

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