Age Vs. Size for Job Creation

September 15, 2010

I’ve been thinking a lot about the issue of job creation and cluster growth, in light of Zymogenetics’ recent sale to Bristol-Myers Squibb. The sale kicked off the latest round of debate in the local life sciences community, to the tune of “is it a good or a bad thing that all our successful biotechs get bought up.” We’ve all debated this over and over again, and the answer really stems from what it is that you think creates jobs: large anchor companies vs. small businesses.

Interestingly, the answer might be neither.  Apparently, the businesses that create jobs are the new ones. Read the rest of this entry »

Hey Kid, Go Be Entrepreneurial

August 3, 2010

One of the things that we hear a lot about in the economic development community is the importance of small business and entrepreneurship. A majority of jobs get created by small business, to say nothing about how many new products and innovations get launched that way as well. Here in Washington state, we’re great at entrepreneurship, with one of the highest rates of business starts per capita…except that we also have one of the highest rates of business failures per capita.

We’ve done a lot of research on that topic, and there are several reasons why those stats are somewhat misleading (for example, the high percentage of seasonal businesses…like farming…that get created and then close on purpose each year). And there’s issues with the B&O as a tax on businesses in the “valley of death” (pre-profitable, yet forced to pay a gross revenues tax). But it’s also true that successfully starting and running a business is hard, and there’s not actually a lot of resources out there to prepare you for it. Read the rest of this entry »

Big Ideas of 2009

December 4, 2009

It’s getting to be that time of year when people start doing annual recaps; this year, folks get to have even more fun with decade recaps as well. My very favorite of these – the New York Times Magazines’ Year in Ideas issues – is going to come out soon, and I can hardly contain my glee. We here at the Prosperity Blog have also had a good year of ideas, generating all sorts of practical proposals for improving our region’s business climate and competitiveness. But, of course, we have also had lots of impractical, sky’s-the-limit ideas that we hope someone is going to take and run with and make all our dreams come true. So, for all you good-idea-awaiting folks out there, here’s a summary of some of our “Big Ideas of 2009”, presented in Top Ten format: Read the rest of this entry »

Why Don’t We Have a Kauffman Foundation?

October 20, 2009

I was reading this article on Xconomy about their new partnership with the Kauffman Foundation, and the titular question immediately struck me: Why Don’t We Have a Kauffman Foundation?

Think about it: we are a center of innovation, but one of the most difficult places in the country to start and sustain a new business (see Indicator 13). And what do they focus on? Improving the success of entrepreneurship and commercialization! Read the rest of this entry »