Thomas J. Donohue Thomas J. Donohue
Advisor and Former Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


November 20, 2017


November is National Entrepreneurship Month, a time for our country to honor those who drive innovation and encourage a new generation of enterprising Americans to take action on their ideas. At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, we foster entrepreneurship by promoting policies that not only protect business creation but prioritize it.

Entrepreneurship is the life force of the American economy. Every business started as an idea and required a great deal of courage and commitment to get off the ground. Many entrepreneurs fail multiple times before they find a plan that works. In fact, I often say that if you don’t fail occasionally, you probably aren’t thinking big enough.

Once a business is growing and attracting customers, it creates tremendous value for the entrepreneurs and their entire communities. New businesses account for the vast majority of net new jobs in the U.S. In the last three decades, firms less than a year old have created 1.5 million jobs annually. Entrepreneurs also drive innovation, which gives our economy the fuel it needs to grow and stay competitive.

One of the most important ways to promote entrepreneurship is to protect intellectual property (IP) rights, which incentivize creativity by allowing those who conceived or developed an idea to reap the rewards of its success. All of those who perform creative work, from entrepreneurs to artists to innovators, must be confident that the fruits of their labor will be shielded from piracy or theft. Ensuring that the creators of new products and services are rewarded is crucial to stimulating new business formation.

The Chamber’s Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) is committed to protecting innovation through IP and other policies. Last week it held its annualIP Champions Gala to celebrate America’s creators and the policymakers who support their rights. GIPC will release its sixth annual Global IP Index, ranking the IP protections of various nations based on a range of indicators. The Index will provide a road map for each country to strengthen its standards.

The roots of entrepreneurship can be found in America’s protections for the innovators and creators who turn ideas into reality. It’s difficult to imagine what the next generation of entrepreneurs may achieve, but our job is to ensure that they have the chance to begin. As we mark National Entrepreneurship Month, the Chamber and GIPC are committed to continuing our long-standing fight to make America’s already strong protections for entrepreneurs and innovators even stronger.

Correction: The IP Index was not released at the IP Champions Gala but will be released in 2018.

About the authors

Thomas J. Donohue

Thomas J. Donohue

Thomas J. Donohue is advisor and former chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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