Entrepreneurship is one of the few things politicians across the country can agree on as something to be promoted. New companies, young companies, and especially growing companies are essential to job growth, wage growth, and rising standards of living.
Unfortunately, despite its headline-grabbing popularity, trends in entrepreneurship seem to be moving in the wrong direction. For several years, the rate of business creation in the United States has been flat or falling. Meanwhile, overall economic dynamism -- the productive turnover of businesses and jobs -- has been declining in both the overall economy and the high-tech sector, which has traditionally been the most dynamic part of the economy. Negative trends in entrepreneurship may be related to other discouraging economic trends, including stagnant wages and low economic mobility.
To address these challenges, the Kauffman Foundation announced a two-year initiative to develop a New Entrepreneurial Growth Agenda at its annual State of Entrepreneurship Address held this month at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. To kick it off, we brought together several leading thinkers in a policy discussion modeled on an entrepreneurial idea pitch competition. We asked the "Washington Wonks" to pitch their best idea for stimulating a new era of entrepreneurial growth. In turn, the "Policy Pundits" asked questions, suggested changes, and judged the promise of each idea. In the end, after audience questions, we opened it up for online voting.