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Publication Title

Washington University Global Studies Law Review

Abstract

Innovation driven entrepreneurial firms have an important role in contributing to job creation, generating technological innovation, and stimulating the United States economy. However, there is recently a notable decline in emerging growth entrepreneurial activity in the United States. The Coalition Model proposes ways to maximize opportunities for industry, academia, and government to collaborate and build sustainable relationships, to help convert the current challenges in the U.S. market into opportunities.

Designing a new innovation strategy will lead the United States in generating innovation, technology, and economic growth, as well as help the federal government harness new approaches for institutional change. Adopting the Coalition Model (the Model) will not only bridge some of the financial inefficiencies and information gaps associated with investment in innovation driven enterprises, but, perhaps more importantly, will serve as a catalyst for encouraging and stimulating the development of new firms and technologies.

The Model is built on the notion of taking a proactive approach to innovation. The model encourages government agencies to fund research and innovation, by identifying specific technological challenges, determining the course of the research that can benefit their needs, collaborating with audiences in the public sector, research institutions, and universities, and private corporations to act on these needs, and advancing commercialization efforts. There are several potential benefits to adopting such a proactive policy. First, it might encourage future engineers, scientists, and innovators to take a risk and become entrepreneurs. Second, it provides direct funding to research and development needs that might not otherwise be used. Third, it can signal that there are opportunities for private investors to invest in such ventures, and perhaps even serve as some sort of certification. Fourth, it will create a direct pathway for small firms to access government procurement. Fifth, it will encourage knowledge spillovers between professionals in government, industry, and academia. Finally, it will increase awareness and incentives for private industry and academia to collaborate with the government.

The Model advocates for the Administration to adopt a targeted policy initiative (strategic development tool): the Matchmaker. The Matchmaker is a private-public equity investment fund that will invest in early-stage firms, while also addressing the commercial strategic development needs articulated by the public funding partners—a governmental agency. It will establish a channel for private firms to access government procurement and development. The initiative will function as an autonomous body, and be designed to prevent political capture. The adoption of the strategic Matchmaker fund will be to complement, and not to replace, the private market efforts in financing emerging growth firms.

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