Innovation in Higher Education

This article discusses the “new” trend in higher education to focus on competency instead of a liberal arts based approach. Though it certainly has its benefits, competency based education won’t foster creativity as well as a liberal arts will. As with everything there are trade offs and you need both theory and practice to be successful.

As Technology Entrepreneurs Multiply in Vietnam, So Do Regulations

This article discusses the increasing regulation of the tech industry in Vietnam. The article highlights how many of these regulations are “another attempt by the ruling Communist Party to control expression that could incite unrest or threaten its monopoly on power.” These regulations are placing barriers not only on access to the industry but also on free speech. The regulations have had a chilling effect on the industry and are making it increasingly difficult for tech entrepreneurs to thrive.

“Uber’s Wild 2014”

This article discusses Uber and the disruption it has caused in the cab industry.  The article notes that the average cab driver doesn’t work for a large corporation.  They instead work as a contractor, leasing a medallion for a very high fee.  However, those who own the cab medallions being leased are not as affected by Uber as these contractors because they receive their fee regardless of changes in the market.  Consequently, medallion owners are less likely to invest in new technology similar to Uber to assist the contractors running their fleet.  The article also discusses the legal, safety and privacy issues created by the app, and the lack of laws in place regulating the Uber business model.  Uber is a prime example of Schumpeter’s “creative destruction.”  And as with any profitable market, other firms, such as Lyft, Sidecar, and Gett are entering the scene in an attempt to capture market share.  As this new technology changes the way we do things, people with a stake in the old business model will continue to lobby their interests and litigate.  To this point, Uber seems to be succeeding, as it has expanded to 250 cities around the world, with investors telling the company that it is now worth $40 billion.   

Area for Growth in West Africa

Hopefully efforts such as these will help to spur entrepreneurship and economic growth in West Africa. As opposed to reliance on outside development aid (as depicted in the film last week), programs such as these can generate opportunities in Africa and create jobs to help attack the source of poverty rather than alleviate the symptoms.

Africa’s Poor Policies Letting Women and Girls Down

This is an article written Mariéme Jamme, a Senegalese businesswoman based in London, who has launched numerous ventures to support development, which include Africa Gathering, an organization that brings entrepreneurs together to create positive change in Africa. In this piece, Ms. Jamme calls for women to have greater access to entrepreneurial opportunities and says that internal policies have to be changed to allow for greater advancement. Without such changes, she argues, that economic prosperity and stability will not be achieved. She also comments that foreign aid received has not done enough to close the gender and that more needs to be done.

How Congress Can Help Small Businesses

J.D. Harrison suggests moves for Congress to make to stop the rapid decline of business in the U.S. His recommendations are perhaps a bit lofty, but are interesting considerations. We can all get behind lowering student debt, right?