Yesterday’s address by Carl Schramm at the National Press Club included both good and bad news. He presented further evidence of entrepreneurship as the catalyst for a vibrant US economy. He also shared a poll suggesting entrepreneurs have an increasingly dim view of our country’s future competitiveness.
I had the privilege of working my youth away caring for the lawn and home of Ewing and Muriel Kauffman in Kansas City. I learned a lot about growing grass from George Toma. And I learned much about attitude, ambition, and leadership observing Ewing Kauffman. A self-made man, he created Marion Laboratories as a player in the pharmaceutical industry by recognizing opportunity that others didn’t see, and living a business plan others couldn’t write.
Ewing and Muriel left philanthropic foundations; Muriel’s dedicated to arts in Kansas City, and Ewing’s dedicated to entrepreneurship. I’ve watched and witnessed the evolution of the Kauffman Foundation, now one of the leading think-tanks on entrepreneurship in the world. It’s most recent leader, Carl Schramm is among the leading authoritative thinkers on entrepreneurship.
So – when Carl Schramm and the Kauffman Foundation speak about universities and entrepreneurship, or publish their new economy index, or speak at the National Press Club on the state of entrepreneurship – I listen. Carl’s messages yesterday are worth noting, as well as his concluding suggestions:
- Reform immigration policy – grant the green card to our graduates
- Revise Sarbanes-Oxley to reduce undue burdens
- Provide a temporary payroll tax holiday for young firms
- Create multiple pathways for university faculty to commercialize their research
- Offer fellowships for doctoral graduates to work with businesses
- Start entrepreneurship education in our K-12 system
In sum, Carl’s message clearly suggests it’s not small business, or large business, but new business as the key creator of jobs in our economy. He also continued to suggest the critical role of universities in our new economy. We have much to live up to.