Innovation and Entrepreneurship – An Analysis

Recently, the Nebraska Legislature released a new report on innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems in Nebraska.  The report was authorized by LB 1109 – the Innovation and High Wage/High Growth Act; recall Valley County Economic Development testified in support of this research effort back in February of 2010.  The commissioned study by the Legislature looked at some very specific, very important elements of economic growth and opportunity in all of Nebraska.  The study was led by Invest Nebraska, an organization known for its venture competition efforts, like East-2-West Venture Competition this past month.

Nebraska State Capitol

photo by Tim O'Brien

The results were rather telling about the dearth of economic development programs and incentives specifically created to facilitate entrepreneurial growth.  The recommendations to overcome these opportunities, however were quite tangible to grasp.  The report offered 17 recommendations that you can read on page 7 to 9 here.  I’ve listed a few that I think are easily usable for rural Nebraska below:

– Recommendation #1: Create a Statewide Economic Gardening Program
– Recommendations #3-5: Create several different types of venture competitions
– Recommendation #11: Improve Micro-lending Effectiveness and Targeting
– Recommendation #14: Rural Entrepreneurship Focus

What excites me the most is that policy makers *finally* seem to grasp that a mono-programmatic emphasis on smokestack chasing is NOT the only way to grow state and local economies.  To see a significant high-level commitment to the programming and policy that can more equitably assist rural communities has me very hopeful significant changes are coming.

Make note that this report also comes on the heels of a report released by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development as well.  A significant portion of DED’s report echoes much of what the Nebraska Legislature articulated in their recommendations from the report mentioned above.

So now we have two high level reports levied by some game changers at the statewide level.  I know, as do our readers out there, that a report is only as good as the people who put action and policy behind it.  The challenge will be – do we want this for our future?  I think the Great Reset (as Richard Flordia calls our national economic recovery) articulates that economic development must change and the results from these two studies presents a new blueprint in which to follow.  These high-level arguments, significant changes in old-school economic development theory, presents a very hopeful future for rural communities, *if* they create the capacity on the back-end after these changes are carried out.

The trick will be what actually happens?  In Nebraska, we’re known for producing results.  I’m hoping that on these issues, we put the money where our mouth is.

Silicon Prairie News – LB1109 Testimony Debriefing

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