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Clockwise from the top left, Denita Henderson, Ariel Gruswitz, Jason Rittenberg, and Bill Provine shared their perspectives on how the 2020 elections might impact innovation and entrepreneurship policy in Delaware and beyond.
Entrepreneurship policy experts and leaders from Delaware's innovation ecosystem convened virtually for a recent panel discussion on Election 2020 and the Future of Entrepreneurship + Innovation in Delaware. Four panelists reviewed the current policy landscape for science, innovation, and entrepreneurship, considered how 2020 election results may impact this landscape, and discussed short- and long-term implications and opportunities for entrepreneurs, innovators, and policymakers in Delaware.
Jason Rittenberg, Policy and Development Director with the State Science & Technology Institute (SSTI), provided the audience with an overview of the core innovation and entrepreneurship support programs delivered by the federal government. Panelists Ariel Gruswitz, Director of Innovation with the Delaware Prosperity Partnership, Denita Henderson, Associate State Director of the Delaware Small Business Development Center, and Bill Provine, President and CEO of the Delaware Innovation Space, offered regional context from their vantage points in leadership positions with organizations supporting science-based innovation and entrepreneurship in Delaware.
Troy Mix, Associate Director of the University of Delaware's Institute for Public Administration (IPA), moderated the discussion and challenged the audience to consider possibilities for continuously improving the innovation ecosystem in Delaware.
Rittenberg detailed how President-Elect Biden's policy agenda may influence technology-based economic development opportunities in Delaware and nationally. He also spoke to the need for states and regions to offer seamless support for entrepreneurs along the continuum from ideation and prototyping to launching and scaling companies while ensuring that the "entrepreneur or innovator can easily navigate the support."
The panelists pointed to 2020 as an incredibly challenging and dynamic period for entrepreneurs and innovators. Henderson cited a roughly "seven and a half times increase in requests for [business] counseling in a very short period of time."
Provine observed, "an intensification of people both doing side hustles [and] trying to migrate that side hustle to be their front and center career move."
The Delaware-based panelists described ongoing efforts to enhance the state's ecosystem for entrepreneurship and innovation, emphasizing the need to ensure equitable access to the support systems provided in Delaware and the region. The panelists adopted a hopeful outlook for the future of entrepreneurship and innovation in Delaware, citing long-running science-based industry strengths, supportive and collaborative organizations, and the potential to capitalize on the attention of a Delawarean in the White House.
"As we look ahead to 2021, despite the unprecedented challenges of 2020, we want the people of Delaware to know that there is a lot to be hopeful about in our state's innovation economy," said Gruswitz. "Those of us supporting businesses in Delaware are working hard to leverage resources and look for new opportunities to help businesses start and grow in, or relocate to, Delaware. With the President-Elect hailing from the First State, global attention here will continue, and we welcome the opportunity to highlight our significant progress, as well as the promise for more exciting growth in the state and region."
IPA hosted this webinar on November 18, 2020. The webinar recording is available as a special episode of IPA's podcast, First State Insights. Contact Troy Mix (email@example.com) with any questions or feedback on this program.
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SSTI aims to strengthen initiatives to create a better future through science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. A national nonprofit organization, SSTI offers information and services that are needed to succeed in today's innovation economy. They strive to maximize the capacity of their members to deliver successful outcomes within the context of the complex innovation communities in which they participate.
Since its inception in 1996, SSTI has worked to share lessons learned from a nationwide network of practitioners and policymakers dedicated to creating a better future through science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. SSTI conducts research on common performance standards, identifies best practices, analyzes trends in and policies affecting the innovation economy, and fosters greater connection and cooperation among and between all public, private and nonprofit organizations encouraging prosperity.
Created in 2017, Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP) is the nonprofit state economic development agency that leads Delaware's economic development efforts to attract, grow and retain businesses; build a stronger entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem; and to support private employers in identifying, recruiting and developing talent in Delaware. The DPP team's services include working with prospects to review potential sites, cost-of-living details and funding opportunities, including available tax credits and incentives.
The Delaware Small Business Development Center (Delaware SBDC) delivers training programs and free professional consulting services to help innovators, startups, and existing businesses formulate and execute strategies to grow and succeed. For over 35 years, their innovative, inclusive, and impactful solutions have helped grow Delaware's economy. The Delaware SBDC, a unit of the University of Delaware's Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships (OEIP), is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the State of Delaware.
Delaware Innovation Space is a multi-dimensional, resource-rich entrepreneurial incubator. Its singular goal—to transform science driven startups into successes—is impactful and far-reaching. They stimulate scientific entrepreneurship, tackle next generation problems, enhance Delaware's presence as a leader in science and technology, and foster scientific growth, economic development, and job creation. Developed in partnership with the State of Delaware, DuPont, and the University of Delaware, the Delaware Innovation space is located on the Experimental Station campus. The Delaware Innovation Space provides startups with unique access to executive mentorship, networking, and the financial support necessary to go from research to the real world.