Notes from the Director of Office of InnovationThe Director of the Office of Innovation is a Maine Public Employee.The Office of Innovation is capitalized by the Maine state tax payer. What do you think is meant when the Maine people are described as having "blank stares" on their faces? Does it sound like the speaker can indentify with the people of Maine ?
A few weeks ago, Thomas Friedman wrote an article for the New York Times that talked about the importance of a more entrepreneur-friendly environment. He called upon President Obama to make 2010 the year of innovation, the year of Start-Up America. Similarly, Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation called upon policymakers to promote entrepreneurship to spur job creation and speed recovery. Study after study points out the importance of entrepreneurship to fostering economic growth, as the "carrier of innovation."
Yet here in Maine, suggest that we should assist entrepreneurs and you get blank stares. Solutions such as tax reductions, regulatory reform and greater access to capital, while all helpful, are not sufficient to create the entrepreneurial climate that we need.
Entrepreneurs in the high-growth, high-potential technology-driven start-ups, for instance, often need significant technical assistance in specialized management challenges such as intellectual property protection strategies, equity financing deal structures, transitioning from prototype to manufacturing, market penetration and others. All entrepreneurs benefit from mentors, coaches, peer networks, relationships with university and other researchers, and recognition from their communities.
We simply cannot assume that any one tool such as quality of life or access to capital or business climate will get us the vibrant economy we all want. The experience of countless communities, states and countries demonstrates the need for a coordinated and thoughtful approach to developing entrepreneurship.
What do you think the Mainers with "blank stares" might be thinking when the director explains that it requires capital to fund business growth? I wonder if the director understands where the capital used to fund the government agenda comes from?