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NACIE recommends a national entrepreneurship competitiveness strategy

February 08, 2024
By: Michele Hujber

The National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship voted today to accept proposed recommendations for a national competitiveness strategy. One recommendation is establishing a National Innovation Council to coordinate entrepreneurship-related federal government activities nationwide. This council would prioritize efforts related to critical technologies through various actions, including “requiring mandatory reporting of demographics of venture capital (VC) investments” and “supporting the development of best practices and standards for evaluating the effectiveness of entrepreneur support programs.”

Another recommendation is to make national investments to make “innovation moonshots” possible. Recommended actions toward this end include increasing federal R&D funding as a percentage of U.S. GDP to 2% by 2030. They suggest immediate appropriations to start addressing the current shortfall. In addition, they recommend that Congress fully fund the EDA Tech Hubs Program at $9.5 billion.

A third recommendation is to launch a National Innovation Accelerator Network (NIAN). NIAN would be "a virtual ‘network of networks’ of accelerator, mentoring, and investment programs and entrepreneurial support organizations” that would "support organizations to empower inclusive entrepreneurship across all aspects of society at scale." NIAN would be independent but receive funding and technical assistance from federal agencies, companies, universities, and foundations. NIAN would also provide loans or loan guarantees for innovative technology startups.

A fourth recommendation addresses ways to increase the dissemination and commercialization of federally funded innovations. One recommended action for doing so is to provide grants for hiring innovation managers and offering incentives for developing and implementing research commercialization plans. The strategy also suggests that higher education institutions that receive federal funding should be incentivized to implement research commercialization plans. It also indicates that the federal government should incentivize technology transfer offices to pool resources.

Recommendations for helping entrepreneurs access capital include creating new federal programs to support entrepreneurs, particularly those that have been historically underserved. Suggested actions include “developing an incentive for banks to create local VC capital programs with alternative venture capital structures.” The strategy also suggests changing SBA/government contracting and SBIR/STTR award parameters so that more women- and minority-owned businesses would qualify for seed/VC investment. The strategy also suggests creating new VC federal-funded programs “to create growth capital for entrepreneurs through a revenue-based financing (RBF) capitalization strategy.”

There is also a recommendation to provide annual tax credits. Specific suggested actions include providing tax incentives for investing in women or minority-owned startups and restoring first-year expensing of startups’ R&D investments from taxable income.

Recommended actions for supporting entrepreneurs include establishing a national entrepreneurial corps, or E-Corps. Entrepreneurs and business leaders would spend a year working with other, more experienced entrepreneurs. Another recommended action is to provide grants for an Entrepreneurial Sabbatical program. This program would be primarily for academic innovators. The strategy also recommends promoting policies that encourage international students to come to the U.S. by offering a pathway to permanent residency here.

The strategy recommends breaking down the barriers to entrepreneurship by establishing Entrepreneurial Hubs (E-Hubs) in presently abandoned spaces. The E-Hubs would share high-speed internet, administrative support, and rapid prototyping equipment.

nacie, entrepreneurship, immigration entrepreneurs