Dear Fellow Nebraskans:
This past year, I've served as Chair of the National Governors Association. This gave me the opportunity to work with Governors from the United States' 55 states, territories and commonwealths to study, discuss and develop best practices that help foster entrepreneurship and innovation.
Each year, the Chair develops a policy initiative that can impact discussions in states across the nation. My initiative, Growing State Economies, lead a national discussion and focus on developing strategies that impact entrepreneurs and startup companies that help them become fast-growing firms. We held four regional summits to highlight regional strengths and opportunities. The four regional economic development summits were held throughout 2011 and 2012 in Hartford, Connecticut, Nashville, Tennessee, Seattle, Washington, and Omaha.
The results, published in two reports for Governors, are six drivers of growth and 12 actions for growing state economies. Policymakers with responsibility for growing economies can create a locally meaningful strategy by following 12 basic actions to help the private sector grow and thrive, creating new job opportunities for their citizens.
The 12 Actions for Growing State Economies are as follows:
Create a competitive tax and regulatory environment.
Put entrepreneurial activity at the top of the state's economic agenda.
Distinguish among different kinds of entrepreneurs and businesses and target policies and resources accordingly.
Cast a wide net to find entrepreneurs.
Teach entrepreneurship skills and attitudes at all education levels.
Build a startup environment and culture.
Find the potential high-growth companies and help them grow.
Get your entrepreneurs to give back.
Help companies open doors to new customers -- globally and locally.
Reward strong ties among universities, companies, and entrepreneurs.
Encourage entrepreneurs and companies, small and large, to build innovation clusters.
Build ecosystems, not programs.
The six drivers of growth are:
Entrepreneurs -- individuals who seed, grow and renew businesses
Education and Skills -- the concentration of highly educated, skilled individuals within economies.
Innovation and technology -- new ideas and technologies that enter the economy and change what is produced, how it is produced, and the way production itself is organized.
Private Capital -- the sufficiency and availability of debt and equity financing at all states of company formation
Global Markets and Linkages -- businesses competing successfully in global markets
Industry Clusters -- firms embedded in regional clusters supported by institutions providing education, training, finance, and marketing services
These reports mention Nebraska several times in which our state excelled. For example, in partnership with Gallup, Nebraska is using its Entrepreneur Acceleration System to identify small-to-medium sized businesses with high growth potential. This program begins by identifying the entrepreneurial ability of the individual who heads a particular firm, and then Gallup's research indicates that certain individuals have innate qualities that make them more likely to achieve extraordinary success as entrepreneurs, leading to high business growth and ultimately job creation.
The NGA is a forum for governors to work in bipartisan manner to share insight and feedback that advances economic and job growth in states across America. I was pleased to share Nebraska's success with other states and to learn from other states what else we could be doing to strengthen Nebraska's economy. The reports are available at my website at: http://www.governor.nebraska.gov/news/2012/07/pdf/NGA_GovInit_PolicyFramework.pdf and http://www.governor.nebraska.gov/news/2012/07/pdf/NGA_TwelveActionsReport.pdf.