Why are entrepreneurs important to cities?

Entrepreneurs create jobs.
Just about every Fortune 500 company has a story that began with an entrepreneur and a crazy vision. Silicon Valley, Cambridge and Austin happen to have quite a few of them, and they’re the most economically prosperous cities in the country. Jobs are created by companies, and companies are created by entrepreneurs. Period.

Entrepreneurs add to and thrive on creativity, the arts and entertainment.
Entrepreneurs are often the most creative people you’ll ever meet, and since birds of a feather flock together, they’re often frequenting the most artful, entertainment-rich venues, events and movements in their city. It’s no surprise that Manhattan, an entrepreneurial beacon for immigrants and locals alike, is one of the most culturally and economically prosperous places in the world.

Entrepreneurs give back to their community.
Witness Microsoft’s Paul Allen’s quarter of a billion dollar sponsorship of Seattle’s Experience Music Project (OK, so the architecture is ironically way too corporate) to promote music and entertainment in the city and its education system. Relocated companies just don’t do that when cities actually succeed in getting them to move. Another relocation is more likely. We call them ‘players’, and boy are they attractive huh?

So why don’t more city mayors subscribe to this entrepreneurial way of creating jobs? Mainly, I believe it’s because they don’t believe in the lifestyle that entrepreneurs thrive in – decidedly younger, hipper, maybe a little louder… Tomorrow, a couple of hip mayors…