EDA Recognizes Importance of New, High-growth FirmsIn a keynote address to a summit hosted by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Northwestern University in Chicago on January 15, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez called for more high-growth entrepreneurship and innovation planned and run by regions’ entrepreneurs and civic leaders.
Fernandez emphasized the importance of new, high-growth firms: “We know what kind of businesses create the best-paying, most sustainable jobs. They’re the businesses that economists call ‘gazelles’—firms with a solid foundation, and lot of growth potential. …Their habitat is not the company town. They’re found in science and technology parks, laboratories, business incubators—places where entrepreneurs, scientists, product developers, and venture capitalists are clustered together and can work together. Places where innovations can not only be developed, but also brought to market. Where new businesses have a chance to grow. Where entrepreneurs—even the ones who at first don’t succeed—have a chance to try, try, and try again.”
“We need to take big steps: we need to modernize our education system, revitalize our infrastructure, invest in industries of the future, and create a new entrepreneurial culture in which innovation can flourish. We need to build a new foundation for sustainable growth.” Fernandez laid out the following three priorities that will help in the transition:
• Fostering regional innovation that builds on an area’s competitive advantages;
• Encouraging business exports and competitiveness;
• And, doing it in a way that leverages private investment.