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SSTI members host regional entrepreneurship policy meetings

January 26, 2023

Five SSTI member organizations — Conductor, Nebraska Business Development Center, University of Louisville, University of South Alabama, and Verge — were awarded micro grants by SSTI to host policy meetings with state and local officials in their regions about the needs of innovation-driven entrepreneurs. The awards were made possible thanks to a project with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. In total, the seven meetings held by these groups connected dozens of entrepreneurs and support organizations with federal, state and local elected officials, program administrators and staff.

Conductor hosted the “Small Business Policy Luncheon” on Sept. 27, 2022, at the Arnold Innovation Center in Conway, Arkansas. Congressman French Hill was the keynote speaker at the event, which attracted entrepreneurs, university and chamber of commerce staff and members of the state and local government. Hill spoke on Arkansas’ entrepreneurial climate, while Conductor discussed why entrepreneurship matters and how poor policy can adversely affect growth.

Nebraska Business Development Center hosted the “Innovation Policy Forum” on Sept. 21, 2022, at the Nebraska Innovation Campus in Lincoln, Nebraska. The forum, which attracted more than 100 participants, opened with remarks by University of Nebraska President Ted Carter, who spoke on the central role of universities in a state’s innovation ecosystem. In another session, Invest Nebraska CEO Dan Hoffman facilitated a panel with a diverse group of founders from companies that received support from Nebraska’s Business Innovation Act.

University of Louisville hosted two events: “Healthcare Innovation with Federal Policy Makers” on Sept. 7, 2022, and “Manufacturing Innovation with State and Local Policy Makers” Oct. 11, 2022. The first meeting focused on policy needs specific to healthcare entrepreneurs, including data interoperability and sector-specific capital challenges. The second meeting discussed initiatives that support innovation-focused entrepreneurship across sectors, such as SBIR/STTR matching programs and the need to consider entrepreneurs in state science and technology plans.

University of South Alabama hosted two “Entrepreneurship Summit” workshops in September 2022: one in Mobile County and another in Baldwin County. The Mobile County Summit was held in collaboration with the Innovation Portal and featured an open discussion among individuals active in local small business and entrepreneurship concerns. The Baldwin County Summit partnered with local entrepreneurship center Hatch.

Verge hosted the “Verge Innovation Ecosystem Celebration” on Sept. 14, 2022, at Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium to showcase the impact that local entrepreneurs, startups, elected officials and economic developers have on the Roanoke-Blacksburg innovation ecosystem. The event, which featured local economic development and entrepreneurship partners discussing recent local projects and improvements, was hosted as a part of “Game Changer Week,” which consisted of over 50 events across the Roanoke-Blacksburg region.


SSTI's support for these meetings was funded by the Ewing marion Kauffman Foundation. The contents of the meetings and this article are solely the responsibility of SSTI.  

ssti, policy, states