10 States Selected, NGA Policy Academy for Entrepreneurship –

WAHSINGTON, D.C. – The National Governors’ Association Center for Best Practices, with assistance from the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, will begin a year-long policy academy this fall to assist state officials establish methods of encouraging entrepreneurship, the Governors’ Association reported.

A five-person committee – two staff members from the Governors’ Association, Jay Kayne, the director of public sector and community initiatives at the Kauffman Center, and two undisclosed members – narrowed the 16 states that applied down to 10: Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Each state will send between eight and 10 senior staff, cabinet officials and entrepreneurs as representatives to the academy, the Governors’ Association reported.

The organizers intended to select only eight states, but “ten proposals were so good that we didn’t want to say no,” Kayne said (VCJ, July, Page 8). The Kauffman Center plans to contribute grant money beyond its original $583,000 intent, to accommodate the larger group, he said.

The committee based their selections on how focused a state’s proposal was on entrepreneurship, the diversity and seniority of the team the state planned to send, and the commitment of the state’s governor, illustrated through a letter, which accompanied each application, Kayne said.

The committee attempted to select a group that was focused on a variety of issues. For example, one state indicated that it wants to make the information technology sector in its state more entrepreneurial, another seeks to increase access to venture capital resources, and another plans to encourage entrepreneurship through programs in public education. This variety of interest will enable the academy’s final report to have an array of initiatives and ideas from which other states can draw, Kayne said.

The group will gather in November for two-and-a-half days to discuss ways to encourage entrepreneurship. Four to five months following that meeting, the academy members will reconvene for another chance to refine their ideas, Kayne said. The academy will culminate in September 2001, with an open conference, where the developed ideas will be presented, he said.

The Governors’ Association enables the 50 U.S. governors to discuss mutual concerns and act on them collectively. The Kauffman Center, part of the Kansas City, Mo.-based Kauffman Foundation, founded in 1992, is a nonprofit organization that seeks to encourage and accelerate entrepreneurial activity throughout the U.S.