Skip to content
Change Makers X: Scaleup Week

Burn the business plan: why the world needs more entrepreneurs – Carl Schramm, Economist & Author

About This Episode

Today we welcome the American economist, entrepreneur, author and academic Carl Schramm. Described by The Economist as ‘the evangelist of entrepreneurship’, his is a message and call to action that the world needs more entrepreneurs. Why? Because there is much to play for. From the way we might successfully face future pandemics, to how we build prosperity – it is to entrepreneurs and not establishments that we should look. His book, Burn The Business Plan: What Great Entrepreneurs Really Do, has been described as the killer guide to going it alone, and asserts that great innovators have one thing in common – their appetite for risk.

Carl Scramm, Economist & Author

Carl Schramm is University Professor at Syracuse University and former president of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. A $2 billion endowment, Kauffman is the world’s largest philanthropy dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship. Carl is recognised internationally as a leading authority on innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth, referred to by The Economist as the “evangelist of entrepreneurship.” In 2007, Carl and then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, created Global Entrepreneurship Week, now observed in 165 countries. His 2010 essay in Foreign Affairs initiated the study of expeditionary economics. Carl’s academic career began at Johns Hopkins, where he founded the nation’s first research centre on healthcare finance. He has founded or co-founded five companies, including HCIA and Greenspring Advisors, a merchant bank. Carl also has served in major corporate roles and chaired the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Measuring Innovation in the 21st Century Economy Advisory Committee during the Bush Administration and was a member of President Obama’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He is a founding member of the Board of the International Intellectual Property Commercialisation Council, a U.N. recognised NGO, headquartered in Hong Kong; a trustee of the Templeton World Charity Foundation; and a Council Member of the National Academies of Sciences’ Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable. He has served as a trustee of the Kauffman Foundation and the Milbank Memorial Fund.

Listen on all your favourite platforms

Lockdown List

What is a book that has changed your life?

Henry Steele Commager – The American Mind.  Through this I first saw how the history of ideas influenced everything from architecture to painting to law to literature to economic – the best intro to American intellectual history.

What are you watching at the moment?

Schitt’s Creek

Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

Henry Ford or Thomas Edison. Visionaries who built the future. I’m interested in genius… these guys fit. Ford, like Elon Musk, Jobs, Bezos and Juan Tripp, built out enormous companies to give life to their visions.

In one sentence, describe your ‘new normal’.

My new normal is much like my old normal but with a mask, and happily less and less so. Have lived a lot of the last few months in Florida, maybe that’s my new normal — go to where it’s normal.

What is your best tip for life?

Your first job is never your first job. In fact, your current job is your real first job.

A quote for life

“If you want to stay in it for the long haul, and lead a life that is free from illusions either propagated by you or embraced by you, then I suggest you learn to recognise and avoid the symptoms of the zealot and the person who knows he is right. For the dissenter, the sceptical mentality is at least as important as any armour of principle.” – Christopher Hitchens

What is your lockdown soundtrack?

  • Don’t Worry – Autograf
  • Gymnopedies – Eric Satie
  • St James Infirmary – Louis Armstrong
  • Fuare’s Requiem, especially In Paradisum
  • C’est La Luna – Lou Prima

Find out more

Subscribe to Change Makers Podcast