By Urban Media News
As a candidate for governor in 2010, Scott Walker claimed to have a vision for job creation, and he told the people of this state that he would create a climate where businesses and entrepreneurship would flourish.
Today, Walker is far short of his promise and the reason why Wisconsin is dead last in the Midwest in job creation may have to do with a challenging environment for small businesses.
According to the Small Business Association, small businesses provide 50 percent of all jobs and 66 percent of all net new jobs – a significant driver of our economy.
However, the 2012 Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity listed Wisconsin as having one of the lowest rates of entrepreneurial activity in the nation.
The report showed 180 of every 100,000 state residents started a business that year, the fourth-lowest rate in the nation.
The Kauffman Index showed Wisconsin was worse off a year later. In 2013, Wisconsin was the fifth-worst state in the country in entrepreneurial activity.
Last year, 170 of every 100,000 Wisconsinites started a business — meaning it was even harder to start a business here in 2013 than it was in 2012.
Back-to-back years of bottom-of-the-barrel rankings on entrepreneurial activity are bad enough. But when compared to the period between 2000 and 2002, when the Kauffman Index showed 320 of every 100,000 Wisconsin residents started business, Scott Walker’s failure comes into perspective.
It’s apparent that Walker talked up his commitment to business without a real plan or strategy on how to turn his promise into reality.
Even the state’s newly created Venture Capital program was ushered in by the Republican-controlled legislature without any concrete plan to ensure investments spurred new businesses or jobs that will make Wisconsin competitive in the 21st century economy.
In fact, Scott Walker and Republicans blocked biotech firms from gaining access to the venture capital fund.
Industries like biotechnology are what will let Wisconsin lead the way in terms of the jobs and industries of the future.
$25 million taxpayer dollars were committed to the fund by the governor before it was even taken to the floor for debate.
Despite having no knowledge of what the bill would entail, what the accountability measures would be or even what requirements would be for investments.
There was no plan; no rhyme or reason at all. Without any apparent plan to encourage new business start-ups, it’s easy to connect the dots on why 2013 was worse for entrepreneurs than 2012.
A big pile of money won’t create new businesses all on its own. Entrepreneurs need to have access to capital, and there must be standards and accountability when taxpayer funds are given away.
Furthermore, if Walker and Republicans were really serious about creating new businesses, connecting women and minority entrepreneurs with the resources they need should have been given considerable thought.
For entrepreneurs who are struggling, Democratic candidate Mary Burke is a breath of fresh air.
Her “Invest for Success” plan outlines specific goals and tactics to boost Wisconsin’s start-up activity.
Burke’s plan is forward looking and on day one as governor she’ll start to invest in the ideas and entrepreneurs who will create the next generation’s industry and job growth.
Mary wants to eliminate the ban that prevents the Venture Capital fund from investing in the biotechnology industry and broaden the current program to make larger, but sound, investments.
She’ll also increase access to capital for small businesses that aren’t covered by angel tax credits and venture capital funding so they have the same opportunity to be successful and expand throughout the state.
What Wisconsin truly lacks is a culture of entrepreneurship where startups can growth and thrive. Mary’s plan puts thought into understanding how we can introduce entrepreneurship to Wisconsinites early on and what programs can turn their ideas into real jobs and businesses.
Nearly four years of Scott Walker as governor shows he can talk the talk, but he can’t walk the walk. It’s time to get real about our economic future in Wisconsin; we can have four more years of just talk, or we can give Walker the boot and bring in someone who can get the job done.