Kauffman Foundation's State of Entrepreneurship Address Kicks Off Initiative to Strengthen U.S. Economy

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“America’s New Entrepreneurial Growth Initiative” will focus on stimulating a faster-growing, more broad-based entrepreneurial economy; webcast viewers voted on best policy pitches presented by “Wonks” and “Pundits”.

While the nation’s economy has seen significant overall improvement since the end of the Great Recession, economic indicators continue to paint a mixed picture, and several long-term challenges loom over the future. The Kauffman Foundation today addressed these challenges, which include a falling rate of new business creation, at its fifth annual State of Entrepreneurship Address. The event, held at the National Press Club in Washington, featured remarks from Kauffman President and CEO Tom McDonnell.

Noting positive economic news about strong growth in 2013, McDonnell cited “persistent negative forces” that are preventing a stronger recovery from getting underway. Despite high-profile successes, the rate of business formation has lagged for two decades, and there is concern over the effect of falling entrepreneurship on job creation, wage growth, mobility and overall economic dynamism.

“In the American economy today, short-term trends are moving in the right direction, but long-term trends could potentially erode the dynamism that is at the core of economic growth,” McDonnell said.

McDonnell’s address highlighted solutions presented in a new Kauffman report, “Toward America’s New Entrepreneurial Growth Agenda,” which was released at the event as a platform to launch a new initiative geared toward identifying ways the United States can foster a faster-growing and more broad-based entrepreneurial economy. America’s New Entrepreneurial Growth Initiative will include conferences, seminars and commissioned research, with the goal of producing an agenda by early 2016.

The initiative will explore issues such as:

  •     What is driving the slowdown in U.S. entrepreneurship?
  •     What long-term implications will decelerating entrepreneurship have on unemployment and job market dynamics?
  •     How can the United States continue to attract and retain entrepreneurial immigrants, particularly in light of heightened global competition for this talent?
  •     How can regulations protect and enable entrepreneurs seeking alternative routes of financing?
  •     How can educational institutions adapt to changing talent and skill demands?

Following the address, leading thinkers, dubbed “Washington Wonks,” pitched their best policy ideas for a new entrepreneurial growth agenda to a panel of judges, called “Policy Pundits,” who offered evaluation. The audience on site and viewing the live streamed debate voted on their favorite idea. The Wonks were Donald Marron, director of Economic Policy Initiatives, Urban Institute; Will Marshall, founder and president, Progressive Policy Institute; and Megan McArdle, columnist, Bloomberg View, and author of The Up Side of Down. The “Pundits” were Bo Cutter, senior fellow and director of the Next American Economy Project, Roosevelt Institute; Rana Foroohar, assistant managing editor and columnist, Time; and Christopher Schroeder, entrepreneur, venture investor, and author of Startup Rising. Josh Mendelsohn, co-founder of Engine, moderated the debate.

Downloadable video of today’s address and panel discussion, which was webcast from the National Press Club in Washington, will be posted at http://www.kauffman.org.

About the Kauffman Foundation
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that aims to foster economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo. For more information, visit http://www.kauffman.org, and follow the Foundation on http://www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and http://www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.

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