From the Garage to the Boardroom: The Entrepreneurial Roots of America’s Largest Corporations (.pdf)

The NCOE has released From the Garage to the Boardroom: The Entrepreneurial Roots of America’s Largest Corporations, a new report that found most of America’s big corporations today trace back to one or more entrepreneurial founders. The NCOE’s report shows that entrepreneurship “lies at the very heart” of America’s business structure, and that it is the high-growth start-ups of today — like many of their predecessors a century before — that are most likely to join the ranks of the country’s top 200 companies. From the Garage to the Boardroom contains two parts — it first traces the origins of the 1997 Fortune 200 to determine how recently and in what ways these companies were built by entrepreneurs. Second, the report compares the backgrounds of those entrepreneurs who founded and ran companies that were among the 200 largest firms in 1917 and 1997. The report’s key findings include: 1) The origins of most large companies — 197 of the 1997 Fortune 200 companies — can be traced, directly or indirectly, to one or more entrepreneurial founders. 2) Most successful entrepreneurs in 1917 had both significant experience in the same industry as their start-up, and an important innovation that propelled the growth of their company. 3) And it has become more difficult for an entrepreneur to lead a new company into the Fortune 200.

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