Readers Opinion: Candidates (and Voters) Guide to Growing a More Entrepreneurial Idaho? 
It’s good for civic officials to ...
g. Finally, growing the entrepreneurial community requires that we: Celebrate, Educate and 
Initiate at every opportunity....
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What voters should ask candidates?

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Draft op-ed column for newspapers, etc. Please steal it! :)
(just let me know so I can track it)

A short set of questions that entrepreneurs should ask civic officials, especially at election time!

I'd love everyone's thoughts - thanks!

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What voters should ask candidates?

  1. 1. Readers Opinion: Candidates (and Voters) Guide to Growing a More Entrepreneurial Idaho? It’s good for civic officials to say they “love entrepreneurs” and “support small business” but any good entrepreneur would tell you – it’s not about the talking, it’s all about the DOING. People ask me all the time about what makes great entrepreneurship policy, why not ask the candidates? For example, voters should ask of candidates: 1. Growing the entrepreneurial mindset, wide and deep: What tangible steps are you taking to help all of Idaho’s citizens to understand how expert entrepreneurs think? For example, in K -12? Informed, well-vetted actions? 2. Growing a supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem: What tangible steps are you taking to ‘defrag’ our highly fragmented ecosystem (more below)? Again, informed, well-vetted actions to defragment it? Even more important, voters should also ask – who are you listening to? Are you listening to entrepreneurs themselves? Not the “usual suspects” but the true rank and file? Or are you listening to those who claim to speak for the entrepreneurs, even if well -intentioned? Development researchers, academic researchers and practitioners alike agree that voters should also ask these (first four are stolen shamelessly from Brad Feld, serial entrepreneur, VC and co-architect of Boulder’s tech ecosystem… and Friend of Boise !) Remember that we need to hear about informed, intelligent action and not talk: a. What are you doing to ensure that entrepreneurs are leading the growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem? To ensure that the institutions and ‘power players’ are not? (See the “who are you listening to?” question above.) b. What are you doing to include everyone? High-tech and low-tech, rural and urban, social and sustainable, Main Street small business? c. What are you doing to support grass-roots events and programs that we can all rally around? Programs led by entrepreneurs, not by those who want to speak for them? d. Do your actions show that you get this is a long-term process? Boulder. Colorado took 30 years; Silicon Valley took 50! But… in my travels I’m finding that we can do an “extreme makeover” and move the ecosystem forward faster by defragmenting our highly fragmented ecosystem. But it has to be led by the entrepreneurs and those who truly “get it.” This is likely to be highly disruptive on entrenched interests. So are you willing to commit to bold, disruptive strategies that will grow Idaho? e. What are you doing to listen to the data? Growing an economy means great metrics… and listening to them. A particularly damning data point that’s true on every US state: Job creation does not come from attracting firms into Idaho (only 2% of jobs) but in growing our existing businesses and creating new businesses (98%)? What are you doing to shift focus to the 98%? f. What are you doing to ensure that Idaho and its communities take advantage of the vast expertise at our fingertips from across the nation, even the globe?
  2. 2. g. Finally, growing the entrepreneurial community requires that we: Celebrate, Educate and Initiate at every opportunity. What are you doing to make that happen? Happy to share more (http://bit.ly/CandidateGuideEntrep, http://goo.gl/6mmmy ) and I am also happy to make this into a shareable questionnaire. Entrepreneur Up, Idaho!

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