Improving the Environment for Entrepreneurship

Complementing a PAGE event last September, a recent event at the Brookings Institution entitled Improving the Environment for Entrepreneurship  sought to highlight the role of entrepreneurship and start-up businesses in improving the American economy, creating high-value jobs, and sharpening the country’s competitive edge within a Darwinian economic climate.

Steve Case, co-founder of AOL, delivered the keynote address, stressing the critical role that start-ups and small businesses play in the American economy.  However, he noted that this defining characteristic has waned in the wake of the recession, citing specifically that start-up companies had declined by 23% since 2007.  Interestingly, he points out that there has also been a “globalization of entrepreneurship” that has begun to model and compete with the preeminent American system. He emphasized the new public-private initiative, Start-up America Partnership, which is spreading awareness and providing assistance to entrepreneurs seeking to grow their business.  Also, major pieces of legislation, namely the Start-up Act and the AGREE Act, have been advanced with bipartisan support to promote job growth through entrepreneurship.  Citing renewed national awareness and broad the support for the policy, Case believes now must be the time to end the discussion and take action.

Senators Jerry Moran (R – Kan.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) did take action and cosponsored the Start-up Act in order to address this concern.  They agreed that the keys to fostering entrepreneurship in America included a favorable tax structure and a sensible regulatory policy, along with better means of capital formation and a streamlining of the IPO process.  In addition, they recognize that we need to win the “global battle for talent” by investing in education and developing smarter immigration policies.   This philosophy is put into practice in the bill, which includes an income tax credit for specified start-ups, potential Sarbanes-Oxley reform, and a process for expedited commercialization of university research.  In addition, the Act would amend immigration laws for those with degrees in STEM fields and other “alien entrepreneurs.” The two senators are a model for the bipartisan support of this issue, something that has become increasingly rare in a time that needs it most.

Stay tuned for more details on an upcoming PAGE event with Senator Warner on the Start-up Act on Tuesday April 24, 2012 at the Wilson Center.

Posted by: Brian Gowen

Sources: The Brookings Institution, The Library of Congress THOMAS

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