Today, the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) released its “Competitiveness Through Entrepreneurship: A Strategy for U.S. Innovation” (PDF) report that includes 10 recommendations for how the U.S. Department of Commerce, the federal government, and the private sector can foster an entrepreneurship ecosystem that ensures the United States leads in critical technology innovation.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo charged NACIE – a 32-member council comprised of leading entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, academics, and economic development leaders – with developing the report and recommendations with the aim of ensuring America’s continued global leadership in developing, commercializing, and scaling advanced technologies.
“America is the most competitive it’s ever been because we are home to the greatest innovators. But to maintain that position of power in the world, we need to keep making smart investments that will keep us ahead of the curve. That’s why the Biden-Harris Administration is laser-focused on building, strengthening, and investing in American technological innovation at every level of the economy and in every community,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “NACIE’s report and recommendations provide a roadmap to help ensure America remains a global leader by expanding research and development, increasing access to capital, and fueling inclusive business growth across the country.”
The 10 recommendations include investments in research & development (R&D), entrepreneurial ecosystems, talent pipelines, and incentives for intellectual property commercialization. The report identifies opportunities for providing capital, tools, and resources to entrepreneurs to break down barriers and enable faster U.S. innovation in technologies of the future. The recommendations also include action items that ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion are prioritized, including proposed tax credits and incentives for those that invest in early-stage startups, and women- and minority-owned startups.
Additionally, the report recommends that Congress fully fund the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Tech Hubs Program. The bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 authorized $10 billion for the program over five years. Congress has only appropriated $500 million—the first five percent—which enabled the 2023 launch of the program.
“This comprehensive report tackles barriers to success and provides a to-do list for the federal government and private sector to build inclusive economic opportunities through increased technology entrepreneurship and business creation,” said Alejandra Y. Castillo, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development and a NACIE co-chair. “Fully funding the Tech Hubs Program will help execute and complement many of NACIE’s recommendations.”
The report recommends a substantial increase in federal R&D funding to help make innovation moonshots possible. Action items aim to move R&D from concept to the marketplace with recommendations such as incentives for commercialization of IP developed through federally funded R&D innovation.
“We applaud NACIE for the broad set of recommendations that will provide the support that entrepreneurs and startups need to accelerate key technologies, address societal, geostrategic, and national challenges, and power U.S. competitiveness,” said Sethuraman Panchanathan, Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and a NACIE co-chair. “NSF has been a leader across the Federal Government in helping researchers move their discoveries from the lab to society for decades. Just last week, we made the single largest broad investment in place-based science and technology research and development in our nation’s history with the launch of our NSF Reginal Innovation Engines. The 10 NSF Engines that we announced, together with another nearly 60 regions receiving planning grants for future NSF Engines, hold the potential to spur regional economies all across the country, creating opportunities for everyone, everywhere, and ensuring the U.S. remains in the vanguard of competitiveness for decades.”
The report outlines actions items that help innovators and companies protect their IP, including IP developed from a federally funded R&D project. Recommendations propose that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) create an IP commercialization task force for the purposes of commercializing federal technologies across the federal government, with an emphasis on critical and emerging technologies.
“Across the Department of Commerce, we’ve been focused on incentivizing innovation including from those who have not traditionally participated in the innovation ecosystem, and getting that innovation to market to solve world problems and lift communities,” said Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary for Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, and a NACIE co-chair. “This report provides key strategies for translating ideas into products and solutions and ensuring the U.S. has the ecosystem to do so inclusively and at speed and scale.”
The full list of 10 recommendations are:
- Establish a National Innovation Council
- Restore and expand national R&D investments in critical technologies
- Launch a National Innovation Accelerator Network
- Incentivize IP commercialization for federally funded R&D
- Provide cybersecurity and IP resources to protect ideas and businesses
- Expand growth capital access for entrepreneurs
- Expand the diverse pool of VC investors across U.S.
- Incentivize investing in R&D and startups run by women and minorities
- Comprehensively support new, high-potential entrepreneurs
- Break down barriers for new entrepreneurs to accelerate innovation
The report was presented to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo during today’s NACIE meeting at The White House. The Secretary reestablished the federal advisory council in May 2022, and it is managed by EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. NACIE is charged with identifying and recommending solutions to drive the innovation economy, including growing a skilled STEM workforce and removing barriers for entrepreneurs ushering innovative technologies into the market. The council also facilitates federal dialogue with the innovation, entrepreneurship and workforce development communities.
Throughout its history, NACIE has presented recommendations to the Secretary of Commerce along the research-to-jobs continuum, such as increasing access to capital, growing and connecting entrepreneurial communities, fostering small business-driven research and development, supporting the commercialization of key technologies and developing the workforce of the future. Several of these recommendations have been implemented through legislative action, federal grant programs or Commerce-led research and have spurred action and collaboration between the public and private sector.
To read the full “Competitiveness Through Entrepreneurship: A Strategy for U.S. Innovation” report and recommendations, click here (PDF).
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.