Good morning. Thank you all for being with us today. I call this hearing to order.
Today's hearing is the first in a series that will examine how to bolster America's
competitiveness and propel economic growth through innovation and entrepreneurship. America is the most innovative nation in the world. As a global hotspot of breakthroughs and emerging technologies, entrepreneurs have embraced our country's creative spirit for decades and have brought innovations into the marketplace creating jobs and spurring economic growth. Only 20 years ago, the transformative "IT Wave" struck the nation generating new industries, and with it, new jobs and heightened economic prosperity.
Currently, we stand at a critical juncture. The United States remains number one in
innovation, but with unemployment at 7.6 percent and a sluggish economy, communities across the nation are fighting to regain strength and bring back economic prosperity. The question remains--where do these new jobs come from and how can America's competitive advantage in innovation drive economic growth?
To address this question, various entities are taking a variety of approaches to capitalize
on America's innovative spirit. For example, in my district, we have the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology's Manufacturing Incubator Center, that aids startup manufacturers to transform innovative ideas into commercial products. This sort of focus reinvigorates local communities and recognizes the unique strengths of South Carolina's 7th Congressional District, and I'm happy to have Mr. Roach, the Director of the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology, with us today to discuss their work.
Additionally, ADP--a human capital management solutions company, which has an
office in my district--works with small businesses to find innovative solutions to their business'schallenges. While a representative of ADP is unable to be here today, I wanted to highlight the work that they and similar companies are doing around the country to help small businesses innovate to address challenges with everyday tasks such as cash flow, regulatory and tax
compliance, and human resource management.
It is evident that creating innovation-friendly conditions is necessary to allow
entrepreneurs to thrive and generate new jobs, yet for each community, this may mean something different. Today's witnesses truly understand both the challenges and the conditions necessary to succeed, and I thank you all for being here and I look forward to your testimony.
I now yield to Ranking Member Chu for her opening remarks.