American Entrepreneurship History


The United States has distinct advantages to foster entrepreneurship.  Founded on the ideals of capitalism, free enterprise, and a spirit of healthy competition, the USA encourages business innovation and success.  It started with our founding father inventor Ben Franklin who gave us the lightning rod, bifocals, the first circulating library, the Franklin Stove, and the first mutual insurance company.  Vanderbilt founded his empire on transportation, first sail, then steamboats, and finally railroads.  Andrew Carnegie provided the steel for the rails and the bridges needed to expand West.  John Astor used fur trading then musical instruments before settling on real estate for his fortune.


American capitalism made risk-taking comfortable, created a close relationship between universities and industry, provided venturesome consumers willing to try new products.  17% of America’s GDP is entrepreneurship, per the SBA there are 25 million small businesses, and 75% of new jobs are created by them.  It is the innovator and not the inventor who is the driving force in economic progress.  Although statistics show two thirds of all new businesses fail within five years, they provide critical information about wants and needs.  Henry Ford along with A. P. Giannini (Bank of America) and Sam Walton declared bankruptcy three times.