SLC's latest Issue Alert examines how, even though the relative importance of agriculture and agriculture-related industries in the overall U.S. economy has diminished in recent years, the sector continues to be a critical component of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP). In 2012, the latest year available, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that the sector contributed $775.8 billion toward GDP, a 4.8 percent share; the output of the nation's farms alone totaled $166.9 billion in 2012.

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Leaders at Wichita State University have a vision for boosting innovation development and high-tech commercialization in Kansas.
This year, the state Legislature bought into that vision, allocating $2 million (as part of HB 2506) for a new Innovation Campus that will house early-stage entrepreneurial companies and partner with high-tech businesses. Lawmakers also restored $500,000 for the university’s National Center of Aviation Training, a welcome decision for the state’s aviation manufacturers and related industries that have clustered in Kansas.
These actions in Kansas underscore a major trend in U.S. higher education — the growing role of universities in technology-led economic development. Ten years ago, this role was just beginning to be understood and encouraged. Today, it has been widely accepted.
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WASHINGTON, D.C.—Enhancing competitiveness and promoting good governance are two of the many reasons trade still matters, according to Mary Ryckman, the assistant United States trade representative for Trade and Development.

Trade, she said, allows the U.S. and its trading partners to “define the rules of the road, the standards that countries should adhere to, the norms which create a sense of fairness among economies, and the mechanisms by which disagreements can be peacefully...

2014 SIDO WASHINGTON CONFERENCE

JUNE 18-20, 2014

LIAISON HOTEL

MEMPHIS, Tenn.—There’s a rich history of entrepreneurs in Tennessee. From FedEx founder Fred Smith to hospital management company HCA, entrepreneurs have thrived in the Volunteer State.
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MEMPHIS, Tenn.—Many state policymakers talk about why it’s important to encourage entrepreneurs for a simple reason: Startups are just about the only places creating new jobs. “In most years, existing firms destroyed more jobs than they created,” Jason Wiens, lead policy engagement manager for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, told a group of Tennessee policymakers and business leaders at a CSG Entrepreneurship Day May 13. “But in every year since 1977, which is the first year for which we have data, startups have created an average of 3 million jobs a year. And the startup creation rates have remained fairly stable for the last 30 years, even during periods when we had a recession.”

The Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity is a leading indicator of new business creation in the United States. The index calculates the percentage of the adult, non-business owner population that starts a business over time using data from the Current Population Survey. Learn more at www.kauffman.org

By Wade Merritt, Vice President of the Maine International Trade Center,
President of the State International Development Organizations

The United Kingdom Minister for Trade recently proclaimed, “We’re going to save the world through exports!”
It may be a bold statement, but it is a sentiment and enthusiasm we should all share—the more export-ready our businesses are, the greater our share of a competitive global marketplace.

A 2011 study by Deloitte for the Manufacturing Institute found that American manufacturing companies could not fill as many as 600,000 positions—or 5 percent of manufacturing jobs—due to a lack of qualified candidates, and 56 percent of manufacturers anticipate that shortage will increase in the next three to five years. Technological advancements, particularly in the manufacturing area, mean that workers need more specialized skills to both get and keep jobs. To get to those skilled workers, companies must make a decision: Look for new, qualified employees or retrain their current workforce.

The issues state leaders from across the political spectrum can agree on are rare, but the promotion and cultivation of homegrown entrepreneurs might just be one of them. State leaders know entrepreneurs not only create jobs, but also contribute to an increase in wages and standards of living.

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