The State of Entrepreneurship in 2016: U.S. is on the Verge of an Entrepreneurial Boom

‘New Entrepreneurial Growth Agenda’ Sets Path for Effective Policy

Kauffman Foundation’s annual address presents encouraging signs for a new wave of entrepreneurial growth and offers policies to drive it

(WASHINGTON) Feb. 17, 2016 – Despite long-term declines in business creation and slow growth that have led to a “startup deficit,” the Kauffman Foundation is optimistic about the future of entrepreneurship. At its seventh annual State of Entrepreneurship Address at the National Press Club in Washington today, Kauffman President and CEO Wendy Guillies explained to a capacity crowd why the United States is primed for a renewed era of growth.

“While we have near-term concerns, we believe over the long-term that the rate of entrepreneurship will rebound,” said Guillies. “We’re going to see new sectors emerge that are ripe for entrepreneurs. And the barriers to entrepreneurship are going to continue falling, driven by the spread of software, higher computing power and cheaper server storage. Further waves of technological change in robotics and artificial intelligence suggest that even greater entrepreneurial opportunities await us.”

Guillies highlighted more reasons for optimism, including a coming surge of Millennials entering the labor market who will likely boost business creation as they approach the their late 30s and early 40s—the “peak age” for business creation; entrepreneurs transforming and disrupting large portions of the U.S. economy, such as banking, automotive and health care; and existing companies supporting entrepreneurial employees to be “intra-preneurs,” which can lead to more innovations.

Calling for public policy reforms that will support an era of entrepreneurial expansion, Guillies presented the “New Entrepreneurial Growth Agenda” featuring policy recommendations from leading economists and entrepreneurial researchers. Guillies highlighted a few of the dozens of ideas:

  • Move from solely focusing on providing entrepreneurs with more resources to considering what they need less of—less cost to start, less cost to experiment, less cost to try new ideas.
  • Because young growth businesses are the biggest drivers of jobs and revenues, take a regulatory approach that is not solely based on firm size but also takes company age into account.
  • Examine policies such as patent protection and restrictive zoning regulations that tend to protect incumbent businesses at the expense of entrepreneurs.
  • Create a new startup visa to enable immigrant entrepreneurs to start businesses in the United States and create jobs. Fifteen countries have some form of a startup visa. In the global race for entrepreneurial talent, the United States is letting other nations define the course.

We believe these recommendations and others contained in the New Entrepreneurial Growth Agenda can help lay the intellectual groundwork for renewing the country’s entrepreneurial spirit—a renewal that will mean the creation of new companies and new economic opportunities for people in the United States and throughout the world,” Gullies said.

Following Guillies’ address, Rep. Steve Chabot—chairman of the House Small Business Committee, spoke on how Congress can empower America’s entrepreneurs

A panel of contributors, led by Bloomberg View Columnist Paula Dwyer, presented recommendations for how to support entrepreneurship and business growth. Former U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett and former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman provided political commentary and feedback.

Learn more about the event and the New Entrepreneurial Growth Agenda.