entrepreneurs in government

Entrepreneur In Residence Programs – Could Colorado’s Government Be Next?

Look – just because government hasn’t done an awesome job on some things doesn’t mean I believe we should move to privatize everything. But I absolutely believe that employing some lessons from entrepreneurship and the input and implementation strategies of real entrepreneurs could be of tremendous value – and not just for government, but for grocery stores, and banks, and airlines and any other company that has gotten a little too big for its britches.  That is why I was super excited to hear about some legislative efforts to include entrepreneurs at the local and federal levels of government.

More States Adopting the Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program

Virginia republican delegate Steve Landes is one of the latest to spearhead legislation that set-up an entrepreneur-in-residence program.  Although it’s a fairly new concept, other states are adopting the program in hopes of making state government departments more efficient. Under the program, Virginia’s Secretary of Commerce and Trade would allow for 10 volunteer entrepreneurs to come in and do free consulting work for a year.  The idea is to attract entrepreneurs who can offer their skills and creativity in a way that blends business guidance with civic duty.

Virginia is not alone in creating entrepreneur in residence type programs at the state level. Texas approved a version of the program in 2013. The program has also been introduced in California, Georgia, Connecticut, Kentucky, Ohio, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, and Tennessee. Could Colorado be next?

The concept is still very new, but the cities like San Francisco are finding success in the programs.  Over a four month period in 2014, San Francisco’s entrepreneurship in residence program created many apps to help solve local problems for city residents ranging from crime to earthquake alerts.

Entrepreneurship in National Government

Although local state governments are warming up to the concept, the federal government has not approved a bill to bring an entrepreneurship-in-residence type program to the nation’s capital.  U.S. Representative Mike Honda, who represents California’s Silicon Valley area, helped create a bill in 2012 with the stated purpose of establishing “a program to accelerate entrepreneurship and innovation by partnering world-class entrepreneurs with Federal agencies.” Honda’s bill as has since died.

So what do you think? Have you ever stood in a line to get your driver’s license, file a form, pay a fee, or get some basic information and thought to yourself, “I could make this so much faster and easier if someone would just let me!” Maybe an Entrepreneur in Residence program is something you should approach your legislators about!