Watch: "Entrepreneurs meet with policymakers to talk entrepreneurship" | 3:10
When the people working to start, grow, and support new businesses can make a personal connection with policymakers, the odds get better that lawmakers will understand the needs of entrepreneurs.
William Thomas, co-founder of MORTAR, and Means Cameron, founder of BlaCk OWned, took over Kauffman's instagram during their visit to Capitol Hill. Watch more on Instagram >
The nearly 70 participants of Kauffman’s Entrepreneurship Advocacy Day – members of entrepreneur support organizations, entrepreneurs, and Kauffman associates – traveled to Washington, D.C., on April 2 for advocacy training and educational meetings with federal policymakers. They were able to share entrepreneurship’s value to our economy and our communities, as well as entrepreneurship’s unique needs and challenges.
By making entrepreneurs’ voices present in policy debate, the dreamers, makers, and doers, who visited with members of Congress and their staffs were able to connect:
Economic development to entrepreneurs.
Business owners’ need for workforce and talent to policy, not just practice.
The value of inclusive communities that offer affordable housing, quality schools, and modern amenities, with the ability to attract and retain entrepreneurs and talent.
Policymakers with new allies, new resources, new blood, and new ideas.
After the day of advocacy, Kauffman’s Evan Absher, senior program officer in Entrepreneurship, said we need to follow up and keep the effort going. "The establishment is beginning to understand that it’s the local entrepreneurs that are the real talent in their communities. The elected are always looking for people to build coalitions with, this is their new resource for the new model of economic development."
Jason Wiens, Kauffman’s policy director in Entrepreneurship, said sometimes the things that happen in Washington, D.C., seem divorced from the day to day realities of entrepreneurs. "But when entrepreneurs get to sit down with their elected officials and talk about their successes and struggles, it goes a long way to closing that gap. It helps policymakers better understand entrepreneurship, and it encourages entrepreneurs to know policymakers value what they do."
Want to know how you can support entrepreneurs in your community? Download this checklist of actions, big and small, that you can do to help the makers, doers, and dreamers succeed.
Lindsey Cox of LaunchTN and Louisa Shepherd of Collective Impact at Epicenter visit Capitol Hill with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to connect with policymakers on the value and challenges of entrepreneurship in America.