Seven Innovation Policy Ideas to Spark an Economic Recovery in the U.S.

11/9/11Follow @bvbigelow

In San Diego, Connect is the non-profit organization that reaches into most corners of the local innovation community. Connect likes to say that it has assisted in the formation of more than 3,000 technology and life sciences companies in the area, and more than 50 cities around the world have emulated its programs for mentoring entrepreneurs and supporting startups.

Under CEO (and San Diego Xconomist) Duane Roth, Connect began issuing a quarterly report in 2009 to provide a more comprehensive measure of the relative health and wealth of San Diego’s innovation economy. Connect also hired a full-time lobbyist early last year to represent the interests of San Diego’s innovation community before legislators in both Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

These two things have come together in the latest innovation report, under a section in the full report that outlines “Seven Innovation Policy Ideas to Spark an American Recovery.” Roth tells me they encompass recommendations that San Diego’s life sciences and high-tech leaders have pulled together over the past two months as legislative priorities to be pursued over the next year.

Yet as Jessie Womble, Connect’s associate director for public policy, puts it, “We can’t expect to get anything passed that’s just for San Diego, so this is part of a national agenda.” In other words, these ideas should also be good medicine for the health of other U.S. regions with innovation clusters.

I’ve distilled the seven ideas with some background information from Connect below:

—Increase the monetary cap on direct public offerings by small companies to allow new opportunities for emerging companies to raise capital.
The SEC adopted “Regulation A” to provide smaller companies a less burdensome process to raise capital through direct public offerings. The cost of compliance with regulatory burdens, however, makes the $5 million cap unworkable and little-used. Proposed legislation would increase the outdated cap under Regulation A from $5 million to $50 million, allowing emerging companies to raise new capital through “mini-offerings.”

—Create an incentive for U.S. corporations to “repatriate” their foreign earnings from overseas and direct the capital flow into emerging technology research and commercialization.
H.R. 1036—the Job Creation and Innovation Investment Act of 2011—accomplishes this by setting a zero percent tax rate for global companies that return their … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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  • http://Xconomy J. Keeney

    Another suggestion: Revise the disasterous Hatch-Waxman law of 1984 to allow “perma-patents” on all newly marketed new chemical and biological drug entities, coupled with a program of gradual price declines on all such medicines and older patent-protected drugs. This would incentivize companies to invest more in drug R&D, as well as lead to lower introductory prices on new drugs.