This site contains the archives of my travel blogs from 2010-2016.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why a Major in International Entrepreneurship might not have been so off-the-wall

I ran across this article today and thought, Hmm, looks like people with expertise in international entrepreneurship could be in high demand in the near future - right here in the U.S.  

I discovered during my first year abroad (in Belgium in 2006-07) that I wanted to work in an international environment, and I wanted to do something that embraced and promoted the entrepreneurial spirit.  It's no wonder these objectives led me to Belmont, where I was all too excited to find out that I had the opportunity to actually create a one-of-a-kind personal major, tailored precisely to my research and career interests.  I decided right off the bat that my eventual goal would be to open a business consulting firm catering to small- and medium-sized enterprises with high growth potential and the desire to expand internationally.  The fun I see in this is a perpetual game of "connecting the dots" -- across borders, languages, cultures, and different markets' needs. 

What I didn't realize was that it might not be so much about exporting goods as it could be about importing entrepreneurs If this "U.S. Startup Visa" pans out, who is going to educate the foreign entrepreneurs that are queuing up, undoubtedly ready to rush our borders? Who will know enough about how the system works in their countries of origin, so as to be able to best explain the major differences in how we do things here in the U.S.?  Who will these aspiring business owners turn to when they have questions about business terminology? -- anyone who's studied a foreign language knows that there are lots of  "false friends" (words in language A that look or sound the same as words or constructs in language B, but actually represent quite different concepts) and these can be exceptionally deceptive once you start navigating the business and financial lexicons.  

With a lot of research and continued travel & language study, I'm hoping to get on the front end of this new trend and be ready when the entrepreneurial expats come flooding in.  Navigating a new country and culture is hard enough as an individual. Pair that with the pressure of meeting all the alleged seed capital, investment, and sales thresholds required to keep your visa (see the article for vague details), and the uncertainty of starting a new business skyrockets. If someone offered to guide you through that process, ultimately allowing you and your family to maintain residence in the U.S. and even profit from a private enterprise, how (and how much) would you be willing to compensate that business coach when your new company gets off the ground and starts seeing success?  

No really. I'm curious. I'd like to hear your thoughts. Comment below or email me: shiraheden(at)gmail(dot)com 


  1. Another ill-conceived governmental contrivance, born of good intentions by naive politicians who believe they can control a free economy.

    Where to start... Okay, an American agrees (promises, I assume) to fund the guy's idea for $100,000. Fine. Prove that he actually did. And just how do you intend to prove that? The only way: run the cash through a government-controlled escrow account. Can you smell the rot yet?

    Next... Two years later, the startup must have created five new American jobs and either have raised more than $500,000 in financing or be generating more than $500,000 in yearly revenue. Okay, so if the guy can't sell, it's still okay if he's a good borrower. Wow. If I wanted to be a half-mil in debt two years from now, I could do that AND be on the verge of chapter 11 simultaneously. And besides, who's really gonna audit all this stuff? As for the five employees: heck, the Indians and Iranians have been mass-importing their families for decades and putting them to work. Seriously, anyone can make his payroll look fat for the right people. That's just not reliably measurable.

    The whole thing just looks like a bureaucratic nightmare to me. Besides. have we really come to the point where our taxation, regulation and government policies have so discouraged entrepreneurship amongst our citizenry, that we must now dangle bait on the line to get foreigners to come in and help us get our economy working again? I sincerely hope not!

    I would much rather hear a discussion in the halls of legislation like, "Hey, I got an idea! Let's repeal about 80% of all labor-related legislation over the past 50 years, and pass laws that make it easy to hire people and easy to fire people. Then if someone is wrongly fired, they will easily get a new job, since it will be easy for an employer to hire them AND easy for that employer to get rid of the slouch who needs replacing!

    Sorry, but I just had to give you the op-ed on this one.


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