Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Happy New Year one and all

I have to admit, I didn't shed a tear when I saw George W Bush leave the White House. In common with many in the World I wasn't a fan and I look forward to a future with Barack Obama at the helm. So far I've been blown away at his honesty and the vigour with which he has begun his presidency. I have my fingers firmly crossed. However, one thing George said has stuck with me and it's this: "The trouble with the French is they don't have a word for 'entrepreneur'". Now, aside from the obvious comedy inherent in the comment, behind it there lies a grain of truth; 'entrepreneur' may be a French word but French entrepreneurs in France are hard to come by. Recently, I've been interviewing French entrepreneurs - individuals who have risen from nowhere and whose drive, determination and ability to think outside the box has made them ultra successful. Whilst their stories are all different they are united in their frustration with their fellow Frenchman and, more crucially, with an entrenched system which makes it hard to alter your profession once you've chosen it. If you've ever seen Futurama you'll know what I mean. They express great admiration for the British; their ability to experiment, try new things, explore new business ideas and take chances. They are full of praise for the British government who they see as supporting the entrepreneur ....... They tell me it's well known in France that if you want to try something different you'll have a better chance in Britain. Apparently, there are around 300,000 French citizens working in London alone.
It's food for thought and one of the aspects of living abroad which I find truly fascinating - the ability to see your nation from another's perspective. So, wherever you are in the world, take a step back and look at your country; each has it's strengths and weaknesses and we're all guilty of thinking the grass is greener on the other side but if you look hard enough you can nearly always find something to smile about. :0)

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