The Kauffman Foundation holds its annual State of Entrepreneurship address on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. The event will be streamed at noon EST, both on the foundation's website and on Inc.com (see below).
President and CEO Tom McDonnell is expected to relay findings from his report, "America's New Entrepreneurial Growth Agenda." With a panel of scholars, policymakers, and practitioners, he'll discuss the challenges facing entrepreneurs in America such as the decline of new business creation since 1980 and why this hindered growth has stagnated wage levels and slowed productivity.
McDonnell believes the formation of high-growth companies, or what he calls "muted entrepreneurship," is the key to turning this economy around. Enter the Kauffman Foundation's New Entrepreneurial Growth Initiative, a multi-year effort to explore policies that can rev "the entrepreneurial engine again," McDonnell says, and give birth to a New Entrepreneurial Growth Agenda by 2016 that will map out ways the U.S. can create a "new, faster-growing, and more broad-based entrepreneurial economy."
There are still three areas that need immediate federal policy, however. Those include immigration, data collection, and the focus of the Small Business Administration. Here's a look at the issues facing each.
"Immigrant entrepreneurs are a gift to the United States, both economically and culturally," says McDonnell. "These individuals from all over the world come to the United States and build companies that, among other things, create jobs for Americans and bring innovation to our economy." To foster a more successful entrepreneurial economy, lawmakers need to make it easier for immigrant entrepreneurs to come to the U.S. and build companies that create jobs.
A Startup Visa needs to be separated from immigration reform and Congress needs to make it a standalone bill, he argues. The Kauffman Foundation wants to increase the total number of visas, lower the financial requirements to obtain a visa, and allow foreign students to start their own companies.
There needs to be more data on entrepreneurship, startup financing, and mapping of startups across the country, argues McDonnell. The Kauffman Foundation wants to expand the Survey of Business Owners, conducted by the Census Bureau, to an annual basis.
Small Business Administration
The Small Business Administration needs to cater to "new, young, and growing businesses" instead of just mom-and-pop shops, says McDonnell. The Kauffman Foundation wants to provide the SBA with "new responsibilities that bring entrepreneurship more fully under its purview. The SBA needs to ensure that its loan assistance programs are better directed and more available to startup companies.
Watch the 2014 State of Entrepreneurship Address below.