Posted at 5:17 PM
The National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) convened last week for their third quarterly meeting. Hosted by EDA's Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE), NACIE members discussed their work on innovation, entrepreneurship, and talent development in the workforce, and received updates from Commerce Department leadership on new initiatives and research relative to NACIE efforts.
Members heard about initiatives such as the EDA-funded Communities that Work Partnership led by the Aspen Institute, prompting Council members for ideas on how their efforts might compliment this program. The Commerce Department’s Chief Economist Sue Helper shared insights on the latest research initiatives, discussed NACIE's interests in measuring innovation, and introduced new subjects to the Council to spur discussions around possible topics for the Council to explore. Gadi Dechter from the National Economic Council shared details about the White House's focus on inclusion in innovation and entrepreneurship and about the upcoming Demo Day.
Subgroup meetings broke out later in the day to discuss issues such as inclusion in skills development, challenges that startups increasingly face for accessing and developing talent, what successful incubators of the future look like, and how the Commerce Department can support their growth.
Secretary Pritzker joined and highlighted the importance of amplifying inclusive programs that teach and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship during early childhood education. These skills and values are relevant not only in the workforce but also during school, and the nation should find more ways to provide this type of education to any child interested.
In addition to Secretary Pritzker’s participation, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Michelle K. Lee highlighted resources and initiatives that align with NACIE’s current discussions, including the USPTO’s Satellite Offices and their services, its open data initiatives, and its Patent Pro Bono Program.
Assistant Secretary Jay Williams for the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and Carroll Thomas, the Director of Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), both gave feedback on NACIE’s desire to amplify community best practices. Assistant Secretary Williams discussed EDA’s growing role as a systems integrator for economic development initiatives across all federal agencies and challenged the Council to assess ways EDA could maximize this opportunity. Director Thomas highlighted NIST’s long running Interagency Network of Enterprise Assistance Providers (INEAP), a network that works to align stakeholders around small business development opportunities, and likewise challenged the Council to discuss ways INEAP and government could better streamline their small business support services.
While there is still a lot of work to be done before the next meeting in September, this group of dedicated entrepreneurs and leaders took critical next steps to ensure the Commerce Department is at the forefront of innovation and entrepreneurship.