NGA Policy Academy Entrepreneur Strategy –

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Governors around the country had until June 16 to respond to a proposal sent out by The National Governors’ Association to apply for a spot at a policy academy to discuss actions governors can take to encourage entrepreneurship on a state-by-state basis.

As the situation exists today, “support for entrepreneurs at a state level is ad hoc,” said Jay Kayne, director of public sector and community initiatives at the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership in Kansas City, Mo. While a variety of programs to encourage entrepreneurial activity do exist throughout the country, no coordinated policies are in place, he said.

NGA Chairman, Utah Governor Michael Leavitt, initiated plans for the entrepreneurial policy academy, which will be coordinated by NGA’s Center for Best Practices, the Kauffman Center and the National Commission on Entrepreneurship.

Eight states will be selected to join the 18-month long event that will culminate with a national conference in the early fall of 2001, where the results of the discussions will be shared with representatives of every state.

Applications to join the academy will be judged on the governor’s commitment to the project, exhibited through the level of policy advisors expected to attend, Kayne said. The committee seeks to select a group of states interested in a variety of issues, be it venture capital deal flow or workforce and talent development needed to supply new businesses, Kayne said.

The organizers expect the primary topic of discussion to revolve around sources of deal flow, rather than sources of capital, a topic that would have been in the spotlight had this event taken place five years ago, Kayne said.

Plans for the academy coincide with a three-part series of reports issued by the NGA about establishing state-level policies that support entrepreneurship. The second report released in May suggests that the best successes have been realized when government support and policy direction at the state level, work together with private-sector market discipline.

The NGA, an organization that enables the 50 U.S. governors to discuss mutual concerns and act on them collectively, used this academy process in the past to address topics such as family and youth issues, welfare reform and rural development.

The Kauffman Center is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to encourage and accelerate entrepreneurial activity in the U.S. The foundation was formed in 1992 by the late Ewing Marion Kauffman, an entrepreneur who built Marion Laboratories from a small pharmaceutical firm into a major health care company that was eventually merged with Merrell Dow.