Earlier today, Representative James Lankford (R-OK) and Representative Mike Honda (D-CA) introduced the Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) Act. Supported by leading private-sector technology firms, the legislation creates 30 structured, non-paying positions within federal agencies for entrepreneurs to lend their expertise on best practices, public interaction and other areas in which the government interfaces with the business community.
Similar to Presidential Management Fellows, federal EIRs would be civilian detailees reporting directly to agency heads. EIRs would be tasked with providing recommendations and assisting efforts to make agency operations simpler, more efficient and more responsive to the current needs of businesses. EIRs would also help the agencies identify ineffective or duplicative programs.
"I am proud to join Rep. Honda to help bring the ideas, innovations, and experiences of American private-sector entrepreneurs to Washington. Through hands-on experience and collaboration, our American entrepreneurs and business leaders know how to improve our federal acquisition procedures," remarked Rep. Lankford. "Our business leaders can advise executive agencies how to engage with American businesses, so we can compete in the international market. The EIR program would undoubtedly breathe new life into antiquated federal practices and systems in the executive branch. I look forward to consideration by the full House as soon as possible."
"Firsthand experience from executives and tech innovators will allow our federal agencies to adapt and improve," said Rep. Honda upon the bill's introduction. "The EIR program is an effort to ensure our small business owners can compete globally while fostering a more favorable economic climate for growth, innovation, and competitiveness. There is certainly much more U.S. policymakers can learn from private-sector success."
The EIR model was successfully implemented by Dell in September of 2011 when the company brought on board one of today's leading entrepreneurs in green information technology, Ingrid Vanderveldt, to serve as its first Entrepreneur-in-Residence.
"The federal Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program is really a simple idea with significant potential," said Ms. Vanderveldt. "By involving entrepreneurs, you bring innovative thinking to government, create advocates within government, and help entrepreneurs across the country overcome regulatory obstacles."
"Dell has experienced great success with our own Entrepreneur-in-Residence program by helping us bring an outside perspective to our business and also better engage with other entrepreneurs," said Michael Young, Dell's vice president for Global Government Affairs. "We applaud Rep. Mike Honda and Rep. James Lankford for their leadership in bringing the innovative insight of entrepreneurs to government, and fostering a better environment for further growth of small businesses, a key economic engine for our country."