This week we were pleased to see a column by Jon Pritchett, president and CEO of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, in the Clarion-Ledger. In it, he shared his thoughts on AOL co-founder Steve Case‘s keynote address (a “fireside chat” with Jim Barksdale) at the Accelerate 2019 Conference on Technology Conference last month.
Pritchett wrote that Case offered “sage advice about where he’s putting his money and why, and he gave Mississippi’s political leadership some very specific direction about the future.”
In his keynote, Case talked about his venture capital fund, the Rise of the Rest Seed Fund II, which is designed to support entrepreneurs in parts of the country that don’t receive much venture capital. Case explained that because about 85 percent of all venture capital investments are made in California, New York and Massachusetts, he is looking for opportunities in other states.
“His message to the leaders in Mississippi was a hopeful one,” Pritchett wrote. “He chided lawmakers to eschew the normal corporate welfare and incentive hunting competition and instead think about better ways to get sustainable economic growth — like encouraging tech innovation.
“He suggested [policymakers] in Mississippi should think about how to permit tech innovations, rather than how to protect incumbent industries,” Pritchett wrote.
He went on to write about Case’s belief that technology innovation could fuel economic growth in traditionally industrial and rural areas. And he noted that such growth could help slow or reverse “brain drain” in Mississippi.
“[Case] even suggested a robust tech innovation sector in Mississippi could be the antidote to brain drain, causing a ‘boomerang effect,’ bringing talented and ambitious Mississippians back to the Magnolia State,” Pritchett wrote.
Pritchett explained that the role of the think tank he leads is to recommend evidence-based policy ideas to help political leaders make prudent decisions.
“We should welcome and encourage creative disruption and work to reap the benefits of technological progress,” he wrote.
Political leaders should, therefore, seek equally innovative policy solutions that will jumpstart local entrepreneurship and economic growth, he advised.
We’re thrilled to see the Accelerate 2019 conference sparking ideas and discussions about the potential for Mississippi’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and economy.
Please read the full column by Jon Prichett at the Clarion-Ledger.