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In 'State of Entrepreneurship' address, Kauffman CEO Carl Schramm issues recommendations to drive economic recovery and kick-start job creation
(WASHINGTON, DC), Jan. 19, 2010 – On the heels of last month's alarming unemployment numbers and citing sobering new data that show a majority of American entrepreneurs do not expect to create jobs in 2010, Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, today delivered "The State of Entrepreneurship" address, calling on policymakers to make this cornerstone of American capitalism a priority.
During an event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. that included perspectives from entrepreneurs and remarks from U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, Schramm underscored the importance of entrepreneurs to economic recovery, emphasizing that hundreds of new companies are being created each day.
"Entrepreneurs are still the primary engine of job creation in the United States," Schramm said. "In the last 30 years, literally all net job creation in this country has taken place in firms less than five years old."
"It's not tenable for the United States to continue with the status quo," Locke said at the event. "In a world where innovation is critical to U.S. competitiveness, we must do everything in our power to optimize commercialization that stems from our nation's vast research investments. The Commerce Department is working hard to find solutions, and as has always been the case, we will look to America's entrepreneurs to help chart the path back to recovery."
Schramm also unveiled a new survey of entrepreneurs, commissioned by the Kauffman Foundation and conducted by Douglas Schoen, LLC that shows entrepreneurs are optimistic about their companies but are struggling to expand and create jobs in the current economy. Highlights from the survey include the following:
- 36 percent of entrepreneurs reported reductions in head count in the past year; only 8 percent have added employees.
- Nearly two-thirds have seen their sales volume and their profitability decrease.
- 71 percent of entrepreneurs do not expect to add any new jobs in 2010.
- 61 percent of entrepreneurs think the economy is on the wrong track.
To catalyze job creation and to ease the burden that entrepreneurs feel in today's economic climate, Schramm presented a number of policy recommendations that he said would help set the country on a path toward economic recovery:
- Reform immigration policy, granting citizenship for foreign students graduating from American universities and other immigrants who want to start new companies and create jobs.
- Revise Sarbanes-Oxley regulations to allow company shareholders to choose whether their companies must fulfill some of the most onerous reporting requirements if they think the costs of compliance outweigh the benefits.
- Provide a temporary payroll tax holiday to companies less than five years old.
- Give academic entrepreneurs the choice of multiple avenues to commercialize their research so their innovations can reach consumers more quickly.
- Offer fellowships for doctoral graduates in scientific fields to educate them about how to start companies.
- Provide entrepreneurship education and training to students in high school and college.
"I offer these ideas merely to jump-start a much-needed conversation—at a time when our nation is bleeding jobs and needs some fresh solutions," Schramm said. "Unleashing these innovators, these risk-takers, these job-creators, is the best way to assure a sustained recovery and to assure that the state of our union is strong."