Why Entrepreneurs are Driving Innovation, Not the Government

  • 4 June 2016
  • Disruptor Daily

The government is not in the business of taking risks. Failures look bad and are enthusiastically chastised by the media and wasted taxpayer dollars never looks good in an election year. The only problem is that with the government shying away from investing in innovative ideas, the responsibility of driving innovation is placed squarely on the shoulders of today’s entrepreneurs.

When history doesn’t repeat itself

We can thank public sector funding for these incredible advancements in technology: wind energy, cancer treatment therapies, GPS, the microchip, the internet…it’s actually a pretty long list.

But the government has become increasingly wary of investing in research and development that could be termed too risky or innovative. We can blame their obsession (and to be fair complete reliance) on the public’s opinion for this. To illustrate this point, the Mars Rover which landed on Mars in 2011, is running on a processor from 1993. Why? Because it’s the best on the market? No. Because it’s the most ‘reliable’.

How does the U.S.A. stay ahead of the curve without government funding?

Groundbreaking technology is no longer solely available to government agencies. Small startups have access to endless informational sources via the all-knowing Oz of the internet, Google, and no longer need to spend their hard-earned capital on computational equipment since AWS (Amazon’s cloud service) can host practically their entire data center on the cloud.

Funding for private sector businesses is at an all-time high and has been growing steadily over the past 80 years. With platforms such as GoFundMe and Kickstarter, startups can rely on crowdfunding to get their businesses off the ground without applying for hard to get government grants.

Naturally, this means that entrepreneurship is on the rise and is at the forefront of driving innovation. It is now possible for an ordinary person with an extraordinary idea to make a large scale difference in the way we live our lives. With more risk takers having their chance at bat, problems affecting us worldwide actually have a chance of finding solutions.

Who’s actually driving innovation?

2tor

Working with well-known universities like Georgetown and USC, 2tor’s vision was to bring quality college education online without sacrificing quality or job placement opportunities. With great success so far and over $96 million raised in venture capital, 2tor proves that you don’t need to invent to be innovative.

Airbnb

Need extra income? Marketing your vacation rental doesn’t come quite like second nature to most people. Airbnb created a platform allowing people from around the world to advertise their homes as vacation rentals. The company has been so successful that it’s been able to significantly disrupt an industry as colossal the traditional hotel market. Their valuation today is in the billions.

Square

Square makes any company or sole proprietor easy to do business with my making payment transactions a breeze. Simply attaching the card swiper, appropriately in the shape of a square, to a smart device with the Square app downloaded, a business owner can now take payment from anyone, anywhere, anytime. Square used a clever marketing technique wherein a merchant is provided the Square swiper and app for free generating its revenue from a small percentage of each transaction.  Initially funded by angel investors, Square is now valued at over a billion dollars.

Impressive as these companies are, everyone now has the ability and the resources to make this happen for themselves and with the government pulling back on funding ‘risky’ investments, it looks like we’ll need to.

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