The Following is a brief reflection of ESTEEM student John Vernon on the impact politics and policy can have on entrepreneurship and innovation.
I have always have had an interest in politics. Ever since I went to my first campaign event as an elementary school student in 2000, I knew I would stay involved with it at some point. Over the years I stayed active and became a news junkie, and I decided to engage in student government. As my interests developed I became very interested in the intersection between policy, business, and the sciences. How can these very different communities come to the table to interact with each other and encourage progress for the country? During the summer before my senior year I had the chance to work for a public policy consulting firm in Washington DC. There I was able to meet this question head on and learned about public policy issues and the political realm that is Washington DC.
However, I realized that I would want to focus more on business for my career. As an entrepreneur it is still very important to understand government issues and regulations especially in your state. This may impact where you will incorporate, your supply chains, as well as your customer base. Some states as well as certain countries are better than others. Unfortunately there have been many cases where businesses have left states as well as our national borders to escape harmful tax rates. It also may impact funding opportunities. There are many grants, local, state, and federal, that are given out by the government for small businesses and corporations. While in DC I was able to meet representatives on the Hill and those from the private sector who were working to promote innovation and entrepreneurship at universities all over the country following a model from Purdue University.
As of this November’s elections the national balance of power has taken a major shift. We are going to be on a different course over the next couple of years and I hope that this will encourage deregulation and less taxation to open the door for more opportunities for the small business owner and the entrepreneur. As citizens we should be always be aware of the actions of our government leaders. However, as business owners and entrepreneurs we should pay even closer attention as this could significantly impact our work. So stay current with the news and read specific sources such as Politico to help you understand the national landscape. These observations could significantly affect strategy and planning for the future, a necessary part of any startup.