U.S. Ambassador: Entrepreneurship Drives Innovation & Growth
Ambassador Cain joins Professor Jay Barney & José Santos at the strategic renewal conference. Cain called for a new spirit of entrepreneurship in his remarks.

Entrepreneurship is a dynamic catalyst for positive change worldwide. Accepting, recognizing and celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit will help to create innovation and sustainable economic growth in Denmark.

That’s what U.S. Ambassador to Denmark James P. Cain told about 140 executives – who formed a cross-section of the Danish business scene – at the second annual Copenhagen Conference on Strategic Management on December 12. The event was organized by the Copenhagen Business School and AmCham Denmark.

He said that Denmark has its own history of entrepreneurship and innovation, but in the United States, there is a unique appreciation of entrepreneurial risk that has created dramatic growth and innovation. In fact, in the United States, “the entrepreneur is king,” Ambassador Cain said.

In the United States, for example, a business failure does not necessarily hinder success later. “We celebrate the attempt more than we punish the failure,” he said.

The United States government – through its policies on taxes, trade, intellectual property and tort reform – strives to create an environment where innovation can flourish. The benefits are clear: In the past three years, entrepreneurs have created 3.5 million jobs – two-thirds of the 5.7 million total new jobs – in the United States, and half were created by companies less than five years old, he said. It could be an inspirational lesson to many economies.

If the United States is the land of opportunity, then Denmark is the land of equality and economic security, at least according to Danish university students that Ambassador Cain cited.

But in a dynamic and highly competitive global marketplace, providing economic security and sustainability will require a robust infusion of entrepreneurship and innovation.

There are encouraging signs of related change in Denmark, the Ambassador pointed out. The Danish government’s globalization council and other initiatives have focused on how to foster entrepreneurship and innovation. The strong economy and low unemployment here are fueling new ventures, and there are outstanding Danish innovators and entrepreneurial success stories, including Terma, a military supplier near Århus, and Lego, the globally renowned toymaker.

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