Reid Hoffman’s concept of leveraging the power of entrepreneurship was echoed again this summer when I talked with Lesa Mitchell, VP for Advancing Innovation at the Kauffman Foundation. She shared her enthusiasm that, for the first time, the Federal Government is waking up to the enormous impact entrepreneurship can have on the economy and recently created an Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. It has limited staff and funding, but it’s a start. I wonder if it will one day include a department of GREEN entrepreneurship? It’s widely accepted that “picking winners” is not the best use of government resources, however, there is much government can do to create a fertile ecosystem for startups to thrive.
Lesa Mitchell recently testified before Congress and shared some of her top recommendations with me:
1. The need to development world-class commercialization boot camps for university students and faculty and entrepreneurs, to get innovation out of labs and into commercial production – this she says is the “low hanging fruit.”
2. Before giving grants, the government must set rules to encourage transparency, sharing data, resources and outcomes. Mitchell cited Kauffman’s iBridge Network (a Craigslist for innovation) as a suitable model to create a “lens into universities.”
3. A free agency licensing model should be adopted to encourage more rapid commercialization of innovation. This idea has created some controversy, but the Kauffman team should be applauded for not pulling its punches.
For more information on the Kauffman Foundation’s work on entrepreneurship and startup trends click here
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