The State of Start-ups
Jonathan Ortmans, President, Public Forum Institute
When President Obama will deliver his first State of the Union address is still unclear. However, with 80 percent of the population believing that new economic growth and jobs will come from entrepreneurs, discussion around what his address should include in terms of policies that encourage new start-ups is already underway.
For example, in the eyes of the Entrepreneurs' Movement, an initiative to unite entrepreneurs and their supporters to have a stronger voice in economic policy discussions, his speech needs to include the following: health care reform, better access to credit, a cut in payroll taxes, tax reform and an “Entrepreneur's Visas” that ensures we do not send home those few but talented foreign graduates and PhDs who want to stay in America and make jobs. With a September survey of entrepreneurs suggesting that 53% of entrepreneurs believe that the stimulus package has hurt entrepreneurial activity I am not surprised that more stimulus money is not on the list. Don’t get me wrong, the majority of entrepreneurs do want government to do more to encourage entrepreneurship (58%). This January, over 70% of entrepreneurs are saying that the most important policy initiatives to facilitate job creation are providing tax credits for businesses that invest in research and development, and providing a permanent cut in the income tax on business by eliminating payroll taxes (State of Entrepreneurship Poll by Douglas E. Schoen, LLC). But, as much as we hear elected officials in Washington praise “small business”, there appears to be only a limited understanding of how to spur “new business” and what really inspires new entrepreneurship and makes entrepreneurs take risks for society.
The Kauffman Foundation, which sponsors this web site, will more directly join this discussion tomorrow at the Foundation’s State of Entrepreneurship Address in Washington, DC. Kauffman Foundation president and CEO Carl J. Schramm will deliver a comprehensive address assessing the outlook for entrepreneurship in 2010, including the challenges facing new businesses and solutions for fueling job growth as part of the economic recovery. The event will also include a panel discussion featuring economic experts and entrepreneurs. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, who leads efforts within the Administration on entrepreneurship and innovation, will be present to share his current thinking. The discussion will be webcast live at lunch time and is without doubt one which anyone who reads this blog should not miss!
Also, if you have been keeping abreast of U.S. foreign policy, you will know that our nation’s interest in entrepreneurship reaches beyond our shores where our entrepreneurial knowledge and experience is seen as valuable in a more open U.S. policy of global engagement. For example, on Wednesday, U.S. Ambassadors to countries in the Western Hemisphere will gather to discuss, among other issues, the state of entrepreneurship in the countries in which they are serving when they gather for the Chiefs of Mission Forum under the auspices of the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU). Beyond U.S foreign policy, U.S. policy on advancing entrepreneurship is still carefully followed in a world that is eager to stimulate its economies through the phenomenon of individuals starting and growing businesses.
I look forward to the insights and recommendations that will come out of both these events to boost entrepreneurship as a force for job creation, innovation and growth. Let me know if you know of more and let us know your thoughts on the specific ideas presented here at the Policy Dialogue on Entrepreneurship where we share research and report on these important deliberations.
Jonathan Ortmans is president of the Public Forum Institute, a non-partisan organization dedicated to fostering dialogue on important policy issues. In this capacity, he leads the Policy Dialogue on Entrepreneurship, focused on public policies to promote entrepreneurship in the U.S. and around the world. In addition, he serves as a senior fellow at the Kauffman Foundation.