I have been noticing an accelerating pendulum swing to using public/private partnerships as a strategic approach to stimulating economic growth. In my opinion, this is a good thing because sustainable economic prosperity cannot be legislated. The economic engine of any democracy is the innovativeness, determination and productivity of its people. Creating public/private partnerships allows for more robust solutions to the challenge of moving from today’s situation to tomorrow’s potential. The real root causes limiting global competitiveness are more easily identified and, as a consequence, public and private sector leadership energy is invested in developing solutions that offer a high probability of making a measurable difference.
Based on my review of the literature, the expected benefits of public/private partnerships include:
- Faster decision-making.
- Higher ROI for taxpayers.
- Efficiencies in operation by using latest technologies and best practices.
- Superior solutions from harnessing the differences in thinking.
- Surge capacity to get work done.
- Increased competition.
The model is certainly not without its challenges. Realizing the perceived benefit is as much a function of the individual participants and quality of leadership as is any other organizational structure choice. As Jim Collins advises in his book Good to Great, “Get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats”. With the right people, you dramatically improve the odds of success.
One new public/private partnership that caught my attention is the Startup America Partnership. It is a public/private partnership of entrepreneurs, corporations, universities, foundations and the federal government. The mission is to promote entrepreneurship in America. This public/private partnership is a core component of the National Innovation Strategy for achieving sustainable economic growth and job creation. Steve Case, chairman of the Case Foundation and co-founder of AOL will lead the Startup America Partnership.
A strong entrepreneurial base is key to a strong Brand America. A 2010 study by the Kaufman Foundation found “U.S. startups (less than 1 year old) create an average of 3 million new jobs annually and ‘without startups, there would be no net job growth in the U.S. economy.’ In fact, even when startups are excluded, young firms (1 to 5 years old) account for approximately two-thirds of job creation. This shows that it is not just small businesses, but startup businesses in particular, that have long been the engines of job creation, making entrepreneurs crucial drivers in the race to put people back to work.”
Clearly, the Startup America Partnership has an important mission to accomplish and success will result in a stronger, more prosperous Brand America.
How much do you know about the potential impact entrepreneurial start-ups can have on the economy?
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How important do you believe having a program to encourage entrepreneurial start-ups is to the long-term economic vitality of America? What advice do you have for the leaders of the Startup America Partnership?
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