Global Entrepreneurship – Statistics and Implications

Link to recording of the presentation and my own discussion of my blog post:

Two facets of my background influenced my choice of topic. First, I come from a fairly entrepreneurial family. My dad built and ran two fairly successful companies in the healthcare sector. Second, when I was younger, we would often go on business trips abroad and would bring us with him on a pseudo-vacation – we would do our own thing while he worked and he would then join us for a week or so after his meetings had concluded. One of my favorite things to do was to observe differences between countries, especially in terms of businesses. Massive cultural differences were readily apparent. For example, generally, customer service in restaurants and grocery stores is much worse in Europe than in the United States and it is worst in large cities in France (not just Paris). With regard to our class, these experiences got me thinking: I wonder what the impact of different cultures is on overall levels of entrepreneurship. So, I started looking into measures of aggregate entrepreneurial activity around the world to see what patterns emerge across cultures and regions. This post summarizes those findings. Do higher aggregate levels of wealth resort in more or less entrepreneurial activity?  What about the size of the government? Overall, there are 582 million entrepreneurs in the world, which means that about 1 in 15 people worldwide is an entrepreneur. Most of the data in this post comes from the most recent Global Entrepreneurship Management (GEM) report.

On a country to country basis, one interesting thing to look at is Total early-stage Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA). This is defined as “the proportion of adults who are actively engaged in starting or running new businesses in each economy.” In the Europe and North America region, the United States and Canada are clear leaders. Interestingly, while few countries around the world boast higher early entrepreneurial activity than the United States in Canada, a standout region is South and Latin America where seven countries, Colombia, Panama, Brazil, Guatemala, and especially Chile and Ecuador, and one US territory, Puerto Rico, easily surpass Canada and the United States in this measure. Outside of the South and Latin America region, only Madagascar and Armenia have higher rates of early entrepreneurial activity. These countries can also be grouped by income levels. Interestingly, the full spectrum of early-stage business activity emerges in each income group – low-income, middle-income, and high-income countries. Among high-income countries, Italy and Japan have among the lowest rates of early entrepreneurial activity while Chile, Colombia, and Panama have the highest. Among middle-income countries, Belarus and China are on the low end while Ecuador is at the high end. And among low-income countries, Pakistan and Egypt are on the low end while Madagascar is at the high end. Therefore, nationwide GDP levels don’t appear to be an absolute determinant of early business activity. GPD per capita is not significantly more helpful and also doesn’t evidence a clear trend. There is a cluster of countries with low GDP per capita levels and extremely high early entrepreneurship levels – these are the aforementioned South American nations plus Armenia and Madagascar. It would be interesting to know if, especially for the South American nations, this is a result of cultural norms.

Another interesting way to look at this is through established business ownership rates. These reveal a massive disparity between early entrepreneurial activity and established ownership rates in most of the countries analyzed in the GEM survey. These disparities are less pronounced in the European and North American (less Mexico) regions. By contrast, they are stunning in many of the South and Latin American countries we’ve been discussing. For example, while early business activity measures in at 13% in Mexico, but established business owners make up only 2% of the adult population. In Chile, 35% of the adult population is counted in the early stage entrepreneurial activity metric, but only 10% are counted in the established metric. By contrast, in the United States, which has one of the highest disparities between the two metrics in the Europe and North America regions (except for Mexico), early activity is at about 17% while established activity is at about 11%. As the GEM report points out, established ownership rates are a good indicator of the health of entrepreneurship in each nation. The large disparities in nations like Mexico may indicate that, while it is easy to start a business, it is difficult to make that business into an established one. At the same time, it is likely that a fairly substantial failure rate for new businesses is healthy from a macro perspective because it shows a healthy level of competition that, in turn, results in poor businesses failing at an appropriate rate. However, the large disparities between the two metrics in some countries may indicate that their economies are poorly suited to enable new businesses to fully mature.

Another interesting metric to look at is the Global Entrepreneurship Index, which, per its creator organization, The Global Entrepreneurship Development Institute, “collects data on the entrepreneurial attitudes, abilities, and aspirations of the local population and then weights these against the prevailing social and economic ‘infrastructure’ – this includes aspects such as broadband connectivity and the transport links to external markets.” The United States tops this metric, indicating that it is the most entrepreneurship-friendly nation. This comports with the “Nation of Opportunity” image of the United States that people around the world have. The other nations in the top 10 include Switzerland, Canada, Ireland, and France. Interestingly, the difference between the United States, with an index of 83.6, and number 10 France, with an index of 68.5, is already fairly substantial. By contrast, the last ten nations in the top 100 include two of the South American countries previously discussed, Brazil and Ecuador, both with an index of about 20. Therefore, this index may explain, in part, the disparity between early and established entrepreneurial activity discussed above – it’s possible that the environment in the countries with high disparities between the two metrics is simply not conducive to mature entrepreneurial activity.

The implications of these metrics can be substantial on a country-specific basis. Small businesses account for large amounts of GDP, economic growth, and employment in many countries. In the United States, in 2015, small business employment made up a staggering 45% of total private employment. They were also responsible for 32.9% of the US export income and accounted for 63.3% of new jobs from 1992 to 2013. Therefore, entrepreneurship can be incredibly important for the economy of a nation insofar as it results in the creation of small businesses. Moreover, entrepreneurship can have incredible benefits for the entrepreneurs themselves. The statistics are stunning: 54% of entrepreneurs say they make more money now, 68% say they have better work-life balance, and a staggering 97% of people who make the switch to being self-employed and starting their own businesses say they would never go back to traditional employment. So the implications of a nation’s ability to promote new and lasting entrepreneurial activity can result in tremendous benefits to individuals as well as the nation as a whole.

Some questions to consider:

  • To what extent do cultural differences result in differences in levels of entrepreneurial activity?
  • To what extent do income levels influence levels of entrepreneurial activity?
  • What effect can the size and involvement of the government or overall tax burden have on levels of entrepreneurial activity?
  • What explains the very high levels of entrepreneurial activity in several South American countries? Is the infrastructure and relative lack of society-wide support responsible for the massive disparities in these countries between early entrepreneurial activity and established entrepreneurial activity?


GEM Global Report –

Related links:




Bursting Bubbles: Is the VC Landscape as we Know it About to Pop?

It’s not news that VC is big business. What is becoming news, however, is just how big VC has become. Consider these figures:

  • In 2008, $53B was invested in startups
  • In 2018, $160B was invested in startups
  • In 2018, $100B was invested in tech startups alone
  • The deal count over the last ten years has doubled
  • 61% of total capital from deals in excess of $50M

The Danger of Bursting Bubbles, Bitcoin | Friday Forward (#157)

This prompts two questions. First, where did all this growth come from? And second, why has it become newsworthy? As to the first question, from my research, growth in VC has come from a mixture of variables. The first variable, and the one I found least surprising, is that finding the next new technology company is the name of the game, and everyone wants in. All parties involved, especially big VC fund investors, want to find the next big unicorn. And this brings us to the next variable. Big VC fund investors are more than willing to employ the “spray and pray” model, dumping loads of cash into 25-50 companies in the hope one of them turns out to be the next Instagram. The last variable I came across is that large cash injections by big name VC funds has resulted in bloated valuations. Let’s stick with Instagram. In 2012, Facebook valued, and subsequently purchased, Instagram at $30/user ($30/user x 33 million users = $1 billion). That’s pretty crazy because at the time of purchase Instagram had not yet come close to proving its model for monetization. That bet worked out well for Facebook. Instagram has been estimated to be worth more than $100 billion as a standalone company.

As to the second question (why has this become newsworthy?), commentators are becoming increasingly worried that this growth has already resulted in a bubble, and that the bubble is going to burst in the near future. If it does happen, it may not be all that terrible. None of the authors of the articles I read seemed to know what it would look like if the VC “bubble” did in fact burst. It’s hard to imagine a world where big time investors and VC funds have stopped the hunt for the next big tech company. However, some commentators believe that the popping of the VC tech bubble is inevitable, and, when it does finally happen, it will be a race to find the next big thing.

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you have any problems with the “spray and pray” model?
  2. What are your thoughts on bloated valuations?
  3. Should antitrust authorities step in and disallow billion dollar acquisitions of nascent companies? Should they break them up ex post?



COVID-19 and the legal profession

Since we’ve been discussing this, I thought I’d post some of the articles I’ve read about how law firms are responding to the global pandemic and related lockdowns:

Schiff Hardin LLP is cutting salaries and attorneys.

So is Greenspoon Marder. And Ballard Spahr. And Baker & McKenzie. And Winston & Strawn. And Seyfarth Shaw. And Norton Rose Fulbright.

Some firms are cancelling or moving summer associate programs.

Changing legal jobs is a HUGE challenge during the coronavirus lockdowns.

And then there’s Pierce Bainbridge, which was already facing a probe for a named partner’s alleged financial misconduct. Three named partners quit last week. 50 have left in recent months. Yesterday, the firm announced it was closing down. Check out these statements by Don Lewis, a former Pierce Bainbridge partner, and a whistleblower who says he was forced out of the firm for calling “foul” on John Pierce, founder of the firm:

“Pierce is a desperate, broke, substance abusing shell of his former self…. The opening of PB’s books, would very likely reveal that Pierce is a fraud and a con man, lying to his partners, lying to the press, lying to his clients and lying to investors; it would also very likely crater a firm built on smoke and mirrors . . .

“Shortly before I was ousted, the bookkeeper said Pierce withdrew $200,000 from firm accounts in August and September 2018, we almost missed payroll, Pierce placed a moratorium on paying creditors …”

“When I decided to say something about financial improprieties, for the benefit of the partnership, not for one second did I think the response would be a concerted and relentless group attack on my reputation. Even if people now realize I was right all along; the damage my former partners have done to me is immense and they must be held accountable. …”

“[M]y former partners were concerned with themselves only, they intentionally ignored my efforts to stop John Pierce’s shenanigans, and instead turned a blind eye, endorsed, promoted and enabled him until the money dried up; each of my former partners put a price on their integrity.”



Don Lewis



John Pierce

Will sports return this fall?

The sports industry brought in about 73 billion dollars in revenue in 2019, but right now, it does not look like Americans can expect sports to return in 2020 anytime soon. There are so many uncertainties and unknowns surrounding opening stadiums this summer due to the close proximity of thousands of fans and the threat of spreading the coronavirus. “The average attendance during the 2020 season for an NBA game was between 15,000 and 20,600 fans. Home games at Dodger Stadium last season averaged 49,065 spectators.” A Green Bay Packers game averages 77,845 fans at Lambeau Field. “SEC college football games average more than 74,000 spectators per game. And more than 23,000 people pack into Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City to watch Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and other dominant tennis stars every summer in the US Open.”

Joseph Allen, a professor of Exposure Assessment Science at Harvard University, argues that sports have a huge role to play in the aftermath of coronavirus, which includes being a model in their behavior and actions. League leaders are worried about relaxing the control measures too soon and inducing a second wave of transmission to susceptible people. Some changes that can be made to accommodate fans in stadiums are having every other seat or every two seats empty or having hand sanitizer at more stations throughout a stadium. Another suggestion is to close concession stands to avoid people standing closely together in lines. 

However, a study released by Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business, found that 72% of respondents said they would not attend sporting events if they resumed without a vaccine for the coronavirus. This may not reflect the sentiments of most Americans since this was a relatively small sample size of 762 respondents. President Trump stated that stadiums would reopen “sooner rather than later.” Nevertheless, California Governor Newsom said that he does not “expect to have any sports games until at least Thanksgiving and we’d be lucky to have them by Thanksgiving.” California has five MLB teams, four NBA teams, three MLS teams, three NFL teams and three NHL teams, making the state an influential entity in the decision to resume the season. One major factor is the current variance in state stay-at-home orders. Some states are quarantined until June, while others have earlier end dates and most states have different exceptions to the orders. In response, leagues have considered moving their games to Las Vegas, since the city has the most relaxed laws.

The MLB is willing to play without fans so that their games can be televised. However, even if leagues choose to play in an empty stadium, they would have to have enough coronavirus tests for the players, coaches, trainers, support staff, television production crews and other personnel. In addition, they would have to gain the approval of the players’ union. There are discussions about playing at neutral stadiums for regular and postseason games. Golf has rescheduled the Masters tournament, the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship while cancelling the British Open. The WNBA has postponed the start of its regular season which was to begin on May 15. The NFL’s chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills stated that “as long as we’re in a place where when a single individual tests positive for the virus that you have to quarantine every single person who was in contact with them in any shape, form or fashion, then I don’t think you can begin to think about reopening a team sport.” Currently, NCAA football is still scheduled for the fall and they awarded an extra year of eligibility to spring athletes who had their seasons cut short. However, athletic directors across the country, including Notre Dame’s Jack Swarbrick stated that football cannot return unless students are back on campus in the classrooms. Bill Gates stated that he believes schools will be able to resume in the fall.

There is a cost to shutting down stadiums for the remainder of the year. This is not just a question of spreading a virus—many jobs and therefore, livelihoods are sacrificed by shutting down sports facilities throughout the summer and fall across the country. Randi Trent, a server at the Wells Fargo Center, has worked at the stadium for the past 19 years feeding the press box, the cameramen, and the VIP lounge. He works year-round at all three Philadelphia sports stadiums. His whole income revolves around Philadelphia sports and now that they have been shut down his income has dropped to zero. He is a cancer survivor who just came back from medical leave and thus has no savings and is unsure how much longer he can pay his bills on unemployment. This is only one employee’s story out of hundreds of thousands individuals who are employed by stadiums throughout the country. Many athletes and team owners have agreed to pay part-time employees for the remainder of the scheduled NHL and NBA seasons and partial donations for part of the MLB season. However, this is not a uniform decision across all stadiums and many employees are filing for unemployment. 

In conclusion, no one has an answer for when the sports industry can return to its former glory. It is likely that the country will have to quarantine in the future, thus it is imperative that organizations, networks, and facilities innovate to accommodate the new reality. In addition to the changes mentioned earlier in this post, stadiums could increase their sanitation workers, implement new strategies such as sanitizing seats and food vendor equipment in between innings and during halftime. Realistically, implementing these new policies will raise ticket costs, but this may be the price we need to pay for peace of mind.


Supplemental Links:


Unmasking New Opportunities Amidst Crisis

I know we are inundated with news/conversations/dread about coronavirus. However, I wanted to build off Travis’ great blog post and discussion last week on how businesses are adapting to this pandemic.  Over the last week, there has been a monumental shift in the rhetoric of the CDC.  For weeks we have been told that there is no need to wear masks in public and that social distancing would be enough to safely go about our business.  Now, however, a recommendation for wearing cloth masks is prominent on the front page of the CDC website.  As it is now official policy that masks should be worn by all citizens rather than just medical workers, it is interesting to see how the world is reacting.

Established Companies:

Some companies have shifted their production to face equipment.  Bauer, the hockey equipment manufacturer, has started to make medical shields from hockey masks.  Brooks Brother is looking to make 150,00 masks a day. Carhartt is making 50,000 gowns and 2.5 million masks.  MyPillow is focusing 75% of their production efforts to making masks and hopes to make 50,000 masks a day.  For more companies, see link 1.  New Balance is also getting in the mix with what seems to be the most creative route, using laces and other trademark footwear materials to make masks for hospital workers (some cool pictures of the masks in link 2).

Small Businesses:

Established, wealthy brands are not the only ones taking up the production/sale of masks. However, unlike the bigger brands doing it, many small businesses have had to change their course in order to survive as they face smaller demand or are deemed non-essential.  For example, iPromo, a Chicago business that makes and sells SWAG saw their sales dry up with conferences being cancelled.  The CEO used business relationships in China to get suppliers for medical supplies including masks and no sells those supplies for the time being.  A small non-profit here in South Bend (!!) called Sew Loved which “teaches sewing and vocational skills to underseved women and at-risk teens” is “working to produce thousands of washable dace masks through its network of home-based sewers.”  For other really cool stories such as these two, see link 3.


On the CDC’s website they instruct people on how to make a cloth mask at home.  Home production of masks has been a new business for some people.  One person has taken to Etsy to sell her masks, pivoting from just selling fabric to making the mask herself and selling the completed product.  The article that talks about this person also goes on to give steps as to how an entrepreneur can save their business during this crisis, see link 4.  Project Open Source was established the CEO of Inside Weather, a couch company, and this Project is aimed at making available information on DIY masks, see link 5.


While everyone is struggling during this pandemic, it is always important to keep things in perspective.  I thought this article on race relations/mask wearing was a good read.

Finally, for some levity.

I hope everyone is staying safe, healthy, and sane.


Links referenced in blog:

Supplemental Links:

(I think if you click the picture it should bring you to a NY Times article)

China v. United States: IP and Theft


China v. United States: IP Theft and Protections

What is Being Stolen?

The hacking and stealing of American companies has been incredibly pervasive the Chinese have been accused of stealing everything you could imagine including:  Counter just after a Chinese national was indicted for stealing technical date from Lockheed.

In 2010, Google settled that it had been hacked by the Chinese government.

Price Tag?

A 2017 report by the National Bureau of Asian Research estimated “that the annual cost to the U.S. economy continues to exceed $225 billion in counterfeit goods, pirated software, and theft of trade secrets and could be as high as $600 billion.”

How the Chinese Steal IP

Technology theft and other unfair business practices originating from China are costing the American economy more than $57 billion a year in 2019.

It turns out that one of the biggest factors in China’s ability to steal American technology is the American companies themselves. US Companies are afriad of rocking the boat in China because China is often one of their largest markets.

There is a secretive group working for the Chinese government known as Unit 61398. This Unit was found by out to be breaking into American companies at night and stealing as much data from them as possible. Problems arose when US government officials tried to ask the victim companies to act as plaintiffs. None of them would comply. They all had too much invested in their Chinese markets.

This was all reported by David Hickton, not former US Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

In an interesting interview, Paul Goldstein, a professor at the Stanford University Law School explained how China steals IP from US companies.

“Historically, the oldest forms of appropriation of American and other foreign-created intellectual goods were film, record, and software piracy, and counterfeiting of luxury goods and pharmaceuticals.

As is happening today, IP got injected into the trade process, but the waltz was long and slow. The USTR would complain of China’s failure to halt piracy of US-created goods; the two countries would enter into a MOU [memorandum of understanding] in which China would agree to clean up its act; three years later the USTR would identify continuing violations and come back and say, “this time we really mean it;” and the two countries would enter into another, more detailed MOU, and so on.

Eventually what happened was that, as China’s domestic copyright industries found themselves competing with cheap knock-offs of foreign goods, they pressed the Chinese government to fortify the IP enforcement process on its own. (To put this in perspective, this is also what happened a century earlier in the US, which until 1890 failed to protect foreign works, and then waited yet another century before joining the major international copyright treaty.)

Although piracy and counterfeiting remain issues in China, the two newer forms of siphoning off foreign IP value are theft—often cyber theft—of extraordinarily valuable trade secrets and know-how, and the technology transfers required of American and other foreign companies as a condition to doing business on Chinese soil. Traditions of territoriality and sovereignty, as well as the willingness of foreign companies to trade IP for access to the Chinese market, give the latter a degree of legitimacy that outright industrial espionage lacks.” (

Future Theft/Solution?

While the threat of hacking of both the private and public sectors will remain a concern of national security for the United States in the foreseeable future, the issue of the theft of intellectual property laws in China may resolve part of itself on its own. As China has been taking foreign IP it is quickly catching up to the rest of the world. This means that innovation in China is less and less of catching up and more of innovation on par with other first world nations, particularly the United States. This means that in order to preserve indigenous innovation, China will have to increase protections and penalties within its borders for IP violations of all kinds.

History of previously developing economies shows that they have taken the same tactic towards IP. Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan were each consistent IP violators until they reached a per capita GDP of about $20,000-$25,000. The United States was a major IP violator in its younger years as well. The Copyright Act of 1790, stated, “Nothing in this Act shall be construed to extend to prohibit the importation or vending, reprinting or publishing within the United States, of any map, chart, book or books written, printed or published by any person not a citizen of the United States.” The United States did not extend IP protections to foreigners until 1891 with the Chase Act.

That is if COVID-19 doesn’t get us first….





  1. Is it possible for the US to use any sort of unilateral action to contain Chinese IP theft?
  2. If not, are there truly any international organizations that have the power to curb it?
  3. Might it be that China’s IP theft will naturally decline as it becomes a competitor at the edge of emerging technologies?





Businesses and the Coronavirus: Adapting to a Health Crisis

Background Information

COVID-19, otherwise known as coronavirus, has drastically reshaped the world we live in. In the United States alone, there are over 150,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Businesses throughout the country have utilized strategies of working from home and, relevantly, universities have made the transition to online instruction. Some businesses and entrepreneurs have had to reshape their business models to fit the current needs of the community. With much of the country having stay-at-home orders, and the fear of leaving your home being very real, businesses have transitioned their services to adapt to these concerns. The technology industry has underwent changes, but so too has every day services like fitness and grocery shopping.


Gyms throughout the country have closed its doors following statewide stay at home orders. However, the gym and fitness sector are bringing workouts to your home. For example, Planet Fitness, one of the largest chain gyms in the country, began streaming online workout classes on March 16. Monday through Friday, Planet Fitness offers a free, daily virtual fitness class on the Planet Fitness Facebook page for people to access. The videos can also be found on YouTube to be streamed. Smaller gyms and workout programs also offer online fitness classes, including AR30 which is a  virtual fitness program that offers virtual gym sessions via, our favorite, Zoom.

Furthermore, a Facebook spokeswoman stated, “By March 18, the number of home workout posts on Instagram from the United States had increased by more than five times compared with just a few days earlier.” Another spokeswoman for YouTube provided, “On YouTube, average global daily uploads of videos with “workout at home” in the title increased more than 57% from March 10 through March 15.”

Pick-up and Delivery Services

Restaurant and grocery delivery services have also seen a huge increase. Many restaurant dining rooms are closed, but restaurants still are able to offer carryout and delivery. Instacart, a company that offers home deliveries of groceries and other goods that are ordered through an app, announced that it plans to “bring on an additional 300,000 full-service shoppers across North America over the next 3 months to meet the increasing customer demand for online grocery delivery and pickup in the U.S. and Canada.” Furthermore, Instacart, Walmart Grocery and Shipt hit a record for daily downloads of their apps. Instacart has seen an increase of 218%, Walmart Grocery increased 160%, and Shipt saw an increase of 124%.

Other Examples of Businesses and the Coronavirus

  1. Zoom stock is up 20% in the last month.
  2. Promobot released a robot in New York City that asks people questions to determine whether they have symptoms of the coronavirus. (See link 7 for a video).
  3. There has been an increase in companies attempting to integrate thermal imaging capabilities in their products. This essentially allows someone to have their temperature taken from a distance.
  4. High-tech disinfectant devices have seen an increase in popularity. For example, Emist offers an electrostatic disinfectant to combat the coronavirus. (See link 9 for a photo and more information on this contraption).

As we can see, communities and businesses are coming together and adapting to the health crisis we are currently in. With some reworking, businesses are attempting to stay afloat when no one is leaving their homes by adapting to what consumers need.


  1. How do you anticipate legal services to adapt overall?
  2. How do you believe the pandemic will bolster or hinder entrepreneurship and innovation going further?
  3. A few weeks ago we had a presentation on work from home options (“WFH”). How will businesses converting to WFH during the pandemic impact WFH options going forward?


  10. (Header photo).

Michael Jordan’s Slam Dunk in Trademark?–Michael Jordan vs. Qiaodan Sports Company

My Zoom Presentation Link Attached below:

Introduction video:

Please note: the video is dated August, 2015 and therefore it does not address China’s Supreme Court’s final judgment dated December, 2016 on this case.

Slides Presentation:

Michael Jordan Trademark Case Slides

(This is the slide I made for my presentation and I will try to upload my video record tomorrow. I decided to videotape my presentation and send Professor a Google drive link.)

English Resources:

Chinese Resources: