The St Paul Pioneer Press posts a column from Steve Grove, Commissioner at the Department of Employment and Economic Development with a three-pronged approach to investing in innovation in Minnesota…
First, we propose creating an initiative called the Minnesota Innovation Collaborative, an umbrella program to support the startup ecosystem in the state.
It includes incentives to encourage people to take the risk to start something new, like health insurance subsidies that make it easier to leave your full-time job to become an entrepreneur. It includes statewide educational initiatives to teach would-be startup founders how to build a business, pitch a venture capitalist, or grow a technology team. And it includes the development of an office within state government but based in the startup community that will run outreach efforts and a research initiative to study the future of work in our state.
The idea is to signal to the community and the country that Minnesota is open for business and ready to welcome and grow more startups.
Second, we need to bring back the Angel Tax Credit, a program Minnesota pioneered eight years ago but that lapsed during the last session.
This credit led to $421 million in venture capital investment, and in its most recent year over half that money came from investors outside of Minnesota.
Twenty-nine states have since adopted a similar programs, so we’re already losing the attention of investors who are looking elsewhere for tax advantages. We need to bring the Angel Tax Credit back — and make it easier for underserved populations and startups in Greater Minnesota to take advantage of the program, which we’ve done by including new stipulations that make investments in those communities even easier. Add additional support and training resources that could be provided by the Minnesota Innovation Collaborative and our chances of success are even greater.
Lastly, we propose making the investment needed to finally get broadband internet access to the entire state.
You simply can’t participate in the innovation sector — or almost any sector of the economy today, for that matter — without high speed access to internet. The governor’s proposal to bring back broadband grants to reach that last mile of service in Minnesota will make us a model state where you don’t have to move to a metro area to participate in the 21st century economy.
These initiatives to grow Minnesota’s startup and innovation sector are important not just for people who work in these fields. Research from the University of California, Berkeley shows that for every new job created in the innovation sector, five additional jobs are created around it.