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Does American culture encourage risk taking?


“Americans are in control of their risk taking”

Franck Mouthon, President of France Biotech (association of health innovation entrepreneurs)

“What characterizes the United States is above all the control of risk, to be better able to take it. Everything is done to reduce it as much as possible and to anticipate it. In the medical field, for example, it is present at each key stage: scientific research, then development and finally access to the market and exploitation of a product.

To reduce these various risks, let us quote for example the tool “Barda”, an office of the department of health. Its teams have the role of investing in research and development projects in health fields, and go so far as to place public pre-orders, with strong consideration of the medical value of innovation. This establishes a continuum between research and final commercial exploitation, reducing some of the risk from one stage to the next.

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Another instrument: the American health authorities can – which is not yet the case in Europe – give binding opinions to the manufacturers who consult them. The latter therefore know precisely the conditions to be met for their project to go through each stage. This high level of information allows investors to accurately assess their risk taking, project by project.

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This virtuous functioning has generated the emergence of champions whose performances have in turn aroused the appetite of new investors: they strengthen and diversify a market which is therefore becoming more and more daring. The European Union and France are lagging behind on this path but they have started to commit to it, and it is a movement in which we must be strongly involved as entrepreneurs. »

“In the United States, schools inculcate self-confidence”

Allan Abehassera, French entrepreneur and investor based in New York

“The Franco-American differences in terms of risk taking are narrowing. In recent years, entrepreneurship has grown in France, as shown by the success of “French Tech”, the French start-up movement.

But for cultural and historical reasons, Americans have risk-taking in their blood. Their country is based on capitalism, a system synonymous with opportunities that must be seized. Moreover, the safety nets there are meager. When you lose your job or don’t pay your health insurance, you often find yourself destitute. This is very important because, without taking risks, we have nothing!

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Through my four children, I also see how schools instil the necessary self-confidence in life. Teachers are recruited for their empathy, their ability to understand students and not to stigmatize them. For example, my 12 year old son is considered hyperactive and his teachers don’t mind that he walks around the classroom when he has nothing to do.

Moreover, there are no grades at the start: the teachers favor comments on the points to be improved for the development of the child, propose solutions… And the pupils test things, join associations, learn to give speeches in front of hundreds of people…

On the other hand, to say that Americans live better with failure is a cliché. Of course, disappointments allow you to grow if they are experienced with the right state of mind. But in general, an investor who does not get his money back will not follow the same individual on his next project. In the United States, we rather support those who succeed. »

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