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Entrepreneurship in government from an economist’s perspective

The Entrepreneurial State

I came across this fascinating economist, Mariana Mazzucato, who studies how the state plays a key role in private sector innovation (entrepreneurship) and published a book in 2013 called, “The Entrepreneurial State.” See her interview on YouTube where she discusses the incredibly important role the state plays as “investor of first resort.”

“Without a vision in the public sector we wouldn’t have the internet, we wouldn’t have GPS, we wouldn’t have Siri, we wouldn’t have touchscreen display, all sorts of technologies inside our smart products today but we also – and this is a key point – will not have a green revolution,” she says. Her position is that government agencies have the mission, the long-term vision, and the patience to create large-scale solutions to global problems like climate change. In fact, it is the only way a problem like climate change can be addressed.

Mazzucato sees governments’ role as co-creating and co-shaping markets in the capitalist system, even acting in a venture capitalist role. Government agencies would provide seed money through SBIRs and other innovation vehicles, and get returns on that investment. Imagine if government agencies were able to receive shares of a company that spun out a technology. And then reinvested that money in new research.

I find her bottom line messages very motivational… Take risks!

Check out her web site: and blog: