In many senses, entrepreneurialism has been alive and well in Europe for centuries. Any honest American will admit that the Continent's restaurateurs and hoteliers and storekeepers and farmers often run their small businesses with a steadiness and verve that are rare this side of the Atlantic.
But in today's business world, this type of entrepreneurship just doesn't seem to cut it anymore. The problem, so the experts will tell you, is that Europe's millions of family-owned businesses simply are not designed to grow quickly enough, or even to grow at all. Whether they are aging Roquefort, installing environmentally friendly windows, or selling MP3 players, Europeans do so as well as anyone in the world. Yet business owners there are often content to operate at the same scale year after year, with the same number of employees, selling always to the same people. What Europe really needs, these experts say, is more American-style focus on growth for growth's sake.