Au Revoir, Mes Enfants

The word “entrepeneur” is derived from the French word and originally from the Old French word entreprendre, someone who undertakes something. It was originally used in the sense of a theatrical manager, presumably because many of them in England were French, and it’s one of the many words used in the theater that have made their way into common usage.

Apparently, France is providing a hostile environment for its own homegrown entrepeneurs and they’re leaving for more welcoming places:

France has been losing talented citizens to other countries for decades, but the current exodus of entrepreneurs and young people is happening at a moment when France can ill afford it. The nation has had low-to-stagnant economic growth for the last five years and a generally climbing unemployment rate — now about 11 percent — and analysts warn that it risks sliding into economic sclerosis.

Some wealthy businesspeople have also been packing their bags. While entrepreneurs fret about the difficulties of getting a business off the ground, those who have succeeded in doing so say that society stigmatizes financial success. The election of President François Hollande, a member of the Socialist Party who once declared, “I don’t like the rich,” did little to contradict that impression.

After denying that there was a problem, Mr. Hollande is suddenly shifting gears. Since the beginning of the year, he has taken to the podium under the gilded eaves of the Élysée Palace several times with significant proposals to make France more alluring for entrepreneurs and business, while seeking to preserve the nation’s model of social protection.

Historically, the U. S. has been a prime destination for foreign entrepeneurs. Due to our extremely robust system of intellectual property law, if your business depends on intellectual property, you still may come to the United States. In more recent years that has declined somewhat. We’re competing with other places, especially Hong Kong and Singapore. Even more recently New Zealand has attracted the attention of new entrepeneurs.

If we don’t want them, they’ll go somewhere else.

3 comments… add one
  • An additional factor that makes the US a destination of choice is US bankruptcy law. In most European countries, a bankruptcy is all but fatal. You can’t get loans; you can’t get investors. You are, additionally, morally suspect.

    Failure in the US is not a death sentence. Usually.

  • jan

    If we don’t want them, they’ll go somewhere else.

    With our unfriendly taxation and business regulations, there is hardly a welcome mat here, and business has been going elsewhere.

  • michael reynolds


    While no official statistics exist, or Chinese government officials are unwilling to share them, sources including companies, schools, embassies and HR consulting firms all confirm the same thing: though China is increasingly important for the bottom line of international firms, Beijing is rapidly losing its charm for foreign employees.

    The American Chamber of Commerce published the results of its annual ‘China Business Climate’ survey earlier in March. One question asked ‘Have you or your organisation experienced any difficulties in recruiting or retaining senior executives to work in China because of air quality issues?’ Responses from the organisation’s 365 members underline a trend, 48% replied yes in 2014 versus 34% in 2013 and 19% in 2008.

    Although there is little published data, companies in many sectors report managers at all levels trying to escape the pollution. They’re asking to be relocated. Last July saw an increasing number of expat families wave goodbye. Comments on online forums for Beijing parents suggest the exodus started in June.

    As a result, recruiters say foreign enterprises are having increasing difficulty attracting top talent to The Middle Kingdom as many refuse to move, citing Beijing’s worsening air quality.

    There’s your regulation-free nirvana.

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