Development of Research Parks and Innovation Districts in Houston

On May 4, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner stated his support for building a data science center. The next day, he endorsed plans for an Innovation District. How would these types of development promote entrepreneurship, innovation and economic growth in Houston? The Basics What are Research Parks, like the proposed data science center, and Innovation Districts? Research Parks promote research, technological development and commercialization by creating a high density of universities and rese...
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How to Make Texas More Startup-friendly

Over the last decade, Blake Commager (@commagere) has raised over $12 million in venture capital funding, started seven companies and sold five—including the first version of Facebook Causes and some of the most popular apps on Facebook, such as Zombies and Vampires. Born and raised in Midland, Texas, Commager graduated from Rice in 1999 and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2003. Commagere is the CEO of MediaSpike and an angel investor, advising several startups in the Bay Area. His v...
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The Carried Interest Debate

In the 2016 election, carried interest and its taxation was a hot topic. Often explained as a “loophole” that allows the rich to exploit tax codes, carried interest is not a political issue that clearly fits within party lines. Lobbying by the financial sector occurs on both sides of the political aisle, and there are opponents and supporters within both parties. What are the dynamics of this debate, and what are the arguments for whether carried interest should be taxed differently? Private In...
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Global Policy Uncertainty and U.S. Stock Trends

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The Financial Times has predicted that “the rise of Donald Trump may already be casting a shadow over the global economy.” When it comes to the Trump Administration, the world is unsure what policies to expect. Trump’s positions on international trade and tendency toward nationalist policies are a concern for the rest of the world. However, the U.S. stock market is performing at record-breaking highs. Economic research has linked policy uncertainty to stock market slowdowns. If this is so, wh...
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Wanted: More Women Entrepreneurs

Introduction The increase of women in the workforce in the twentieth century drove U.S. GDP growth to new highs. However, as U.S. growth slowed, so did the rate of women entering the workforce. Pushing for equal representation in fields where women have been historically underrepresented may be the key to stimulating our economy. Women’s entrepreneurship is one of these fields. Lauded by the Kauffman Foundation as an "economic tailwind that will give a boost to twenty-first-century growth" i...
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The International Entrepreneur Rule: The US Startup Visa

The Obama administration proposed new provisions for immigrant entrepreneurs in August 2016. The administration designed the proposal to attract international entrepreneurial talent to the United States, especially in advanced technology fields. In mid-January, with only days left in President Obama’s term, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) finalized the details of the "International Entrepreneur Rule." It is scheduled to go into effect on July 17, 2017. Whether it g...
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The Right to Entrepreneurship

USAID has worked to increase micro credit accessibility. For example, this project in Indonesia provided loans to rural women. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USAID_Micro_Credit_Project.jpg
Entrepreneurship and human rights are not frequently mentioned in the same conversation in the United States. However, in international policy, human rights and entrepreneurship are linked by many common policy goals, including enforcing the rule of law, improving infrastructure and fighting corruption. Rights necessary to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors–like the right to participate in the economy, the rights to education and information and access to credit–are considered crucial for the worl...
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Bureaucracy and Public Sector Innovation

Hierarchies can often be complex and make it difficult for employees on the lower end of the hierarchy to be heard or seen by senior leadership. https://pixabay.com/en/silhouettes-hierarchy-human-man-81830/
The public benefits greatly when there are innovations in how our government approaches policymaking and regulation. However, sometimes barriers created by bureaucratic structures can slow implementation. When regulation and rigidity are holding us back, leaders are responsible for ensuring that our government institutions are allowing for change when our old ways of approaching challenges become antiquated. Innovation in the Public Sector Our traditional idea of innovation tends to point scie...
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Women in Top Tech Companies

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In 2014, many of the top tech companies released information on their employee diversity demographics for the first time, bringing attention to the low representation of women in top tech companies. This post looks beyond these numbers. How are tech companies responding to this gender imbalance? The top five tech companies by market cap are, in order: Apple, Alphabet (Google), Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook. The gender balance of each company’s workforce is in the table below: All of ...
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Startups of the Season

Play can be one of the best methods for children to learn to understand the world around them. https://pixabay.com/en/children-playing-exercise-play-310223/
While the holiday season approaches, educational toys are in high demand. Some of the most innovative new toys are produced by startups. For many of these toys, they began with an entrepreneur who saw a need to integrate play and learning. According to the most recent statistics, the United States toy market is worth $21.18 billion. In 2015, the industry surpassed growth expectations, which is especially impressive when compared to the overall retail industry, which grew 0.7 percent less than...
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