Given the economy, government leaders worldwide are exploring ways to make every investment dollar count toward job creation and technological innovation. With this on my mind, I asked the following question recently of a group of Canadian government agencies, startups, venture capital firms, acceleration centers, and universities:
“If you had just a single dollar to spend, where would you spend it?”
The more I talked with people, the more it became clear that the dollar would best be invested using a 3P approach. This isn’t your standard Public-Private-Partnership approach. For government agencies, “3P” refers to:
Almost all of the entrepreneurs I’ve talked to point to people, important mentors or advisors, who have been instrumental to their success. Governments have considerable leverage in helping to bring entrepreneurs and mentors together. For example, mentoring programs in the U.S., Singapore, and Australia show how government-sponsored programs and public/private partnerships can guide innovation and generate related jobs.
Meeting places of all sorts provide spikiness for people to create and evolve their ideas. Whether in a spare room on campus or a dedicated office space, a few tables, an Internet connection, and a pop machine may be all it takes to foster an innovative community. Microsoft has played an active role in bringing governments and entrepreneurs together by running more than 100 Microsoft Innovation Centers around the world. These “places” have helped launch thousands of new companies that contributed directly to their local communities.
Entrepreneurs need help promoting their innovations. Governments can play an important role in helping to highlight innovation within their regions, creating a win-win outcome. Take the Canadian government’s Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA) programs in New York City, Silicon Valley, California and Boston, Massachusetts as examples. These programs showcase local startups to a global community, promoting the innovations and the cities at the same time.
As your budgets get stretched and you strive to invest each dollar where it will have the most impact, follow the lead of entrepreneurs and other agencies that have been there: let the 3P’s guide your strategy for growing jobs, fostering innovation, and driving your economy forward.
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