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UVa Miller Center Milstein Commission Led by Steve Case and Carly Fiorina Releases Report on Creating Middle-Class Jobs Through Entrepreneurship

WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 14, 2015 – The University of Virginia’s Miller Center today released a report proposing five innovative, nonpartisan and actionable ideas to help create middle-class jobs by maximizing the resources available to entrepreneurs. The report is the work of the Miller Center’s Milstein Symposium Commission on Entrepreneurship and Middle-Class Jobs, led by Steve Case, co-founder of AOL and chairman and CEO of Revolution, and Carly Fiorina, former chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard.
The commission was conducted in partnership with the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at U.Va.’s Darden School of Business.
The report, “Can Startups Save the American Dream?” is available here. An executive summary can be found here.
Ideas proposed in the report focus on expanding access to capital, streamlining cumbersome regulatory processes, enhancing educational opportunities and student exposure to entrepreneurship, and equipping local and state governments and business leaders to build robust community-based entrepreneurial ecosystems.
“Entrepreneurs are the secret sauce of America – building not only iconic companies but entire industries,” said Case. “Historically, entrepreneurship has also been about creating pathways to the middle class, and helping people attain the American Dream. Entrepreneurs must again be at the heart of rebuilding the American economy.”
“Entrepreneurship has always been the great American pastime,” said Fiorina.  “But for the first time in our history, more businesses are being destroyed than created, and this has had a profound impact on America’s middle class. The ideas contained in our report will make it easier for Americans to fulfill that fundamental human urge to build a better life.”
Howard P. Milstein said: “This report delivers ideas designed to ensure that entrepreneurship not only remains at the core of American economic DNA, but also that these opportunities come to Main Street.  Capital investment and processes that accelerate business creation and growth are key to success and will result in new jobs and opportunities for the 21st Century. The most powerful force on earth is the private sector of the United States, powered by America’s indomitable creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.”
The report proposes five ideas:
1. Unlock Capital for Main Street Entrepreneurs – Main Street entrepreneurs often have difficulty accessing the capital necessary to launch, sustain, or scale their operations, particularly as the recent recession forced many community banks into consolidation or collapse. By unlocking the Community Reinvestment Act and increasing Community Development Financial Institution investments, Main Street businesses will have access to a critical source of capital.
2. Accelerate Impact Investing through PRIs – Impact investing supports new and innovative models for confronting the great social challenges of our time. However, with investors yet to participate, it is essential to utilize all available sources of capital. By revising regulations governing program-related investments (PRIs) – which are grants that involve the potential return of capital – and expanding their awareness among foundations and entrepreneurs, we may accelerate impact investing and push it from the periphery to the mainstream.
3. National Contests: Empower the Next Generation of Entrepreneurial Leaders – A vibrant entrepreneurial society is predicated on an awareness of the opportunities entrepreneurship provides, the encouragement to pursue them, and the skills to launch and grow one’s own venture. By creating a national entrepreneurial competition for students at the K-12 level, students will be exposed to entrepreneurial thinking and opportunities before they begin their career path.
4. Equip Civic Leaders to Build Entrepreneurial Ecosystems – Entrepreneurial clusters have the power to transform communities and boost local and regional economies. However, civic leaders often do not have the tools or knowledge necessary to cultivate a productive entrepreneurial system. Our plug-and-play “Ecosystem-in-a-Box” concept combines the latest research with the unique qualities of local communities to provide playbooks for civic leaders to build their own vibrant entrepreneurial clusters.
5. Build a Regulatory Roadmap – Today’s regulatory environment imposes costly burdens on existing business and serves as a barrier to entry for aspiring entrepreneurs. Our proposed “Roadmap” will help new and emerging businesses navigate the regulatory landscape. In addition, it will encourage local, state, and federal regulators to offer better customer service to businesses, and help civic leaders to compete on behalf of their communities as top places to do business.
In addition to Case and Fiorina, members of the Milstein Commission on Entrepreneurship and Middle-Class Jobs include:
Ross Baird, executive director, Village Capital
Aaron “Ronnie” Chatterji, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business; former senior economist, White House Council of Economic Advisers
Amy Cosper, vice president and editor-in-chief, “Entrepreneur” magazine
James Douglas, former governor of Vermont, 2003-2011
Maya MacGuineas, president, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
Jen Medbery, founder and CEO, Kickboard
Brian Meece, CEO, RocketHub
Lenny Mendonca, entrepreneur and director emeritus, McKinsey & Company
Karen Mills, senior fellow, Harvard Business School; former administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration
Warren Thompson, president and chairman, Thompson Hospitality Corporation
Sean D. Carr and Michael Lenox, both of Darden’s Batten Institute, served as lead scholars of the commission.
The effort is part of the Milstein Symposium: Ideas for a New American Century, an initiative that is bringing together policymakers, business leaders, scholars, and journalists to define and advance ideas and policies to help create middle-class jobs and help rebuild the American Dream. In the symposium’s first year, separate commissions are studying job creation in three areas: entrepreneurship; manufacturing; and infrastructure investment.
Support for the Milstein Symposium is provided through the Howard and Abby Milstein Foundation and Emigrant Bank.
More information is available here.
Contacts:
Kristy Schantz, 202-744-1109kkschantz@virginia.edu
Kim Curtis, 434-243-2985kcurtis@virginia.edu
About the Darden School of Business
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business is one of the world’s leading business schools, offering MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Education programs. The unique Darden experience combines the case study method, top-ranked faculty whose research advances global managerial practice and business education, and a tight-knit learning environment to develop responsible and complete leaders who are ready to make an impact.
About the Batten Institute
The Batten Institute at the Darden School of Business improves the world through entrepreneurship and innovation. The institute’s academic research center advances knowledge that addresses real-world challenges and shapes Darden’s curriculum, and the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership offers one of the world’s top entrepreneurship programs. The Batten Institute was established with gifts now totaling over $100 million from U.Va. alumnus Frank Batten Sr., a media pioneer, visionary and founder of The Weather Channel.
About the Howard and Abby Milstein Foundation and Emigrant Bank
Howard P. Milstein is an entrepreneur, banker and civic leader. In addition to the work of the Milstein family’s foundation, Howard Milstein and his family also own and operate Emigrant Bank—the largest family-owned community bank in the nation. Founded in 1850 to serve the financial needs of a growing America and a dynamic immigrant population, Emigrant Bank now serves a new generation of Americans who seek a better way of life for themselves and their families.
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Gresham Harkless Jr.

Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.

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