Entrepreneurs and government operate at different speeds. As policymakers pursue the adoption of new policies to support everyday Americans opening new businesses, they can also leverage the unique powers associated with their public offices to champion entrepreneurs today. What follows is a list of tangible, actionable steps that policymakers at various levels and in various branches of government can pursue now.
- Use their State of the City and other public addresses to make increasing entrepreneurship a priority by highlighting the benefits to individuals, families, and the community.
- Conduct focus groups and town hall meetings with entrepreneurs to learn how to address barriers to starting and growing businesses.
- Appoint a city entrepreneurship coordinator to be in charge of making new business creation a priority across the city. The entrepreneurship coordinator would build the entrepreneurial ecosystem by working in partnership with entrepreneurs, entrepreneur support organizations, city agencies and councils, local business and nonprofit leaders, K-12 and higher education systems, and others.
- Require a review of the impact of existing ordinances, licenses, permits, zoning requirements, and other regulations on the creation of new businesses, and work to eliminate or revise them as appropriate.
- Charge economic development agencies with making the support of new, homegrown entrepreneurs a top priority, hire managers in city agencies who understand this priority, and invest in entrepreneurs instead of prioritizing business recruitment.
- Play a leading role in supporting incubators, accelerators, and other entrepreneur support organizations through actions ranging from touting the vital role they play in local economic development to providing them with needed resources.
- Examine how city contracting and procurement can support new businesses and be more entrepreneur-friendly, including by boosting businesses owned by entrepreneurs of color and women.
- Develop and leverage a place-based identity or brand for locally made goods and services to support local makers and entrepreneurs.
- Connect local school leaders, postsecondary educators, job trainers, and employers to create opportunities for students to acquire real-world learning experiences.
- Direct municipal agencies to collect and utilize data on new businesses.Increased effort should be made to disaggregate data by race, gender, and other factors in order to appropriately target interventions that reduce local barriers to new business creation.
Governors and state legislators can:
- Use their State of the State and other public addresses and bully pulpits to make increasing entrepreneurship a priority in their states by highlighting the benefits to individuals, families, the state economy, and communities throughout the state.
- Take the pulse of the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystemby holding town hall meetings and focus groups with entrepreneurs to assess their needs, identify policies that would support them, and remove barriers.
- Appoint a secretary of entrepreneurship and put this position in the governor’s cabinet to coordinate across all relevant state agencies and with the private and nonprofit sectors to build a strong, competitive state ecosystem in which entrepreneurs can thrive.
- Conduct a statewide review of the impact of existing rules and regulations on the creation of new businesses, and work to eliminate barriers or revise laws as appropriate.
- Upgrade state technology systems to better serve small business owners, including by exploring public-private partnerships to improve government services.
- Charge state economic development and unemployment insurance agencies with making the support of entrepreneurs, new businesses, homegrown enterprises, and entrepreneurial ecosystems a top priority, and hire managers within those agencies who understand this priority.
- Examine how state contracting and procurement can support new businesses and be more entrepreneur-friendly, including by boosting businesses owned by entrepreneurs of color and women.
- Build ecosystems with strong networks of entrepreneurs, including leaders of incubators, accelerators, and entrepreneur support organizations, who can help entrepreneurs across the state navigate issues related to starting a business, accessing capital, and finding talent.
- Direct state agencies to link education and workforce data systems, creating the building blocks to understand how education systems lead to careers, as employees or entrepreneurs.
- Direct state agencies to collect and utilize data on new businesses.Increased effort should be made to disaggregate data by race, gender, and other factors in order to appropriately target interventions that reduce barriers to new business creation.
The president and members of Congress can:
- Use the State of the Union and other public addresses and events to highlight the importance of entrepreneurs to the American experiment and economy.
- Make a permanent director for entrepreneurship position within the White House whose job is to rationalize, coordinate, and improve federal policy and agency effectiveness as it relates to new business creation. Previous administrations housed an assistant director for entrepreneurship in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, but the position should be elevated.
- Restart the Department of Commerce’s National Advisory Council for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) and empower it to engage across federal agencies to identify and recommend solutions to issues critical to supporting new business creation. NACIE members should represent the diversity of America’s entrepreneurs.
- Ensure federal procurement targets for small businesses, including businesses owned by people of color, women, and service-disabled veterans, are met and increase over time.
- Ask the Congressional Research Service or Government Accountability Office to review the most significant federal regulations within select departments and agencies that affect the creation and growth of new businesses.
- Add “entrepreneurship” to the House Small Business Committee name.The Senate Small Business Committee was established in 1940, but in 2001, the name was changed to the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. The House committee should do the same.
- Request that the Small Business Administration (SBA) administrator examine ways the SBA can better support Americans starting new businesses, in addition to the role the agency plays in supporting existing small businesses.
- Join the bipartisan House Entrepreneurship Caucus or the Senate Entrepreneurship Caucus to build support for pro-entrepreneur policies.
- Hold congressional hearings, including with entrepreneurs testifying, to guide the development and implementation of policies that reduce barriers to entrepreneurship.
- Support robust federal data collection efforts and timely reporting to better understand entrepreneurship – inputs to and outcomes of – at a granular level. Increased effort should be made to disaggregate data by race, gender, and other factors in order to appropriately target national and local interventions that reduce barriers to new business creation. When able, make data public for use by state and local governments, entrepreneur support organizations, and researchers.