Josh Lerner


On his book Boulevard of Broken Dreams: Why Public Efforts to Boost Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Have Failed—and What to Do about It

Cover Interview of October 11, 2009

In a nutshell

Boulevard of Broken Dreams is the first extensive look at the ways governments have supported entrepreneurs and venture capitalists across decades and continents.

I examine the public strategies used to advance new ventures, point to the challenges of these endeavors, and reveal the common flaws undermining far too many programs—poor design, a lack of understanding for the entrepreneurial process, and problems in implementation.

The book explains why governments cannot dictate how venture markets evolve.  Instead, governments must balance their positions as catalysts with an awareness of their limitations for stimulating the entrepreneurial sector.

Here are a handful of key points I develop in the book:

Entrepreneurial activity does not exist in a vacuum.  Therefore a critical first step for governments is to build environments where new ventures can thrive.

Governments should let the market provide direction when providing subsidies to stimulate entrepreneurial and venture activity.

Governments need to understand the need for interconnections with entrepreneurs and investors overseas. Instead of solely focusing on domestic activity, they should encourage global interconnections.

Governments should recognize the universal temptation for both individuals and organizations to take steps that benefit themselves.  They should focus on minimizing that danger: a government’s mandate is to the benefit of the broader social good.