David L. Birch
David L. Birch, business demography and public policy consultant, recently lectured in Florida International University’s prestigious Presidential Lecture Series. The talk, titled “Entrepreneurship in a Transformed Society,” drew an enthusiastic audience that included university President Modesto A. Maidique.
Dr. Birch, formerly an MIT senior research scientist and the first winner, in 1996, of the coveted FSF-NUTEK Award—The International Award for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Research, which is the equivalent to the Nobel Prize in entrepreneurial research—wrote a seminal study, The Job Generation Process, in 1979. This pioneering work—in which he argued that small- and medium-sized firms create most of the jobs—prompted global research, much of which supported his assertions. As a result, his ideas have influenced research and public policy throughout the world.
In addition to laying the foundation for further explorations on the subject of job creation, his views have contributed to the research community’s examinations of many other economic issues.
“Perhaps the biggest lesson from Dr. Birch’s outstanding lecture was the confirmation that entrepreneurship is a difficult, time-consuming, and perilous journey,” said, Alan L. Carsrud,executive director of the Eugenio Pino and Family Global Entrepreneurship Center. “He reiterated that real entrepreneurs need to acknowledge this and learn from their failures so they can ultimately succeed. This is a journey many wish they could take, and only a small proportion does. But without them, no economy could exist.”
Since 2001, the Presidential Lecture Series, begun with the help of a generous donation by President Maidique, has fulfilled three goals: first, to expose students to “the world at the forefront of science;” second, to accelerate education and research in scientific disciplines via interaction with world-renowned scientists; and third, to increase the university’s visibility.
The College of Business Administration’s own Paul Reynolds, professor of entrepreneurship in the Department of Management and International Business and director of the Entrepreneurship Research Institute within the Pino Center, won the FSF-NUTEK award in 2004. The Swedish Foundation for Small Business Research (FSF) and the Swedish Business Development Agency (NUTEK) present the award.