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In management consulting firm Grant Thornton’s ranking of the best places to grow a business, the United States came in a disappointing 10th place.We asked Grant Thornton’s US CEO Stephen Chipman why exactly that was:
Is America’s business environment moving in the right direction or getting worse?
“It’s really a mixed bag with several factors at play. From a science and technology perspective, the United States continues to be an innovative society that creates strong a R&D environment. Though there are some question marks around educational strengths in science and technology, generally these factors are pointing in good direction. Similarly, the financing environment — even with the credit crunch and the decline in IPOs — still capital is available for good business opportunities. In addition, the United States has a very diverse labour and human capital side with a relatively young population compared to Europe, for example.
“However, compared to some emerging markets such as India or Indonesia, the United States does not have such a young and growing labour pool. In the operating environment, the increase in regulations has created less attractive business environment from a dynamic perspective. And of course, you have our sluggish economic growth coming out of the recession, which has hindered the dynamism of the United States’ business environment. “
What do your clients tell you are the barriers to business in the US?
“In today’s world, it is primarily regulation. Business leaders often express concern about the increase in regulation — whether its healthcare, Dodd-Frank, or at a local, municipal or state level. Another concern, especially among smaller and mid-sized organisations, is the lack of access to capital at all levels. There is a lot of talk about situations where lending or credit isn’t as available and the IPO market not being strong for dynamic, emerging growth companies.
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