Friday, June 11, 2010

Too Small To Fail

This headline comes from my friend Brad Lehrman, a serial jobs creator and venture capital guy. Brad has the best idea I've heard since America became a bailout nation for those too big to fail.

"Take $50 billion in repaid or unused TARP funds and seed every state with $1 billion in venture capital to be invested by venture pros in the best new business models emerging locally," says Brad.

You know like I know those too big to fail are low horsepower new job engines. Small business and entrepreneurs create most of America's new jobs and have for years.

Brad knows this first-hand. Several years ago he put together a network of angel funds that invested in 20 startups. Today those companies employ hundreds of high-paid workers.

Imagine this.

One guy's creativity and initiative leads to hundreds of good long-term jobs.

One guy!

Brad's got the chops to create jobs. I'm learning this as we work together on the board of a nifty emerging organization focused on next-generation journalism, Round Earth Media.

Imagine if every state organized 100 professionally qualified private sector people like Brad directing $1 billion from a total pot of $50 billion in venture funds to well vetted startups in clean energy or med-tech or social media or transportation or other promising 21st century stuff.

That could add up to almost four million new jobs if each venture pro was like Brad and invested, say, $500,000 in 20 startups that employed 37-38 people each.

"It's not about too big to fail now," says Brad. "We simply can't afford to let good emerging small companies fail or never get launched due to nervous bankers or cautious venture funds."

Let's face it. Cash is the catalyst, according to Brad. Chatter about tax breaks, shovel-ready stimulus programs, great research universities and the like won't solve our jobless problem anytime soon.

Jobs are the only thing that'll fix joblessness.

And, according to Brad, it's the enterprising small business operator who hires fast and who needs cash to get it on.

I'm for Brad and his idea.

We tried TARP. We blew our wad on stimulus. We got distracted by wars and health care reform. Nothing's worked when it's come to creating work. The smart honchos on high are running low on answers.

Time now to fund America's innovators and entrepreneurs.

Time to admit Census Bureau jobs aren't the recipe for recovery.

Time to believe that America is, as Brad says, "too small to fail."


twitter @tjmorin


  1. Tim, its a great post and I great idea. Not only that, if the gov't was truly investing - not loaning - they might pay more attention to the impact all the rules and regulations they put in place cause harm their investments.

    As a small business with one full time employee, I can vouch for the fact that the systems and rules put in place to keep those too big to fail in line, really create roadblocks for us little guys.

    Dan Kraus
    Leading Results