12.17.18

Capito Op-Ed Highlights Ways to Encourage Entrepreneurship, Innovation in West Virginia

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In an op-ed for The Dominion Post, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) highlighted efforts in West Virginia to spur economic growth, encourage entrepreneurship, and drive innovation, as well as the importance of continuing and strengthening those efforts.

“Future economic growth is contingent upon fostering an environment that promotes entrepreneurship, and I am committed to helping innovative startups access critical federal research dollars that will help them make their ideas and visions realities. We must successfully work to create an environment that makes our state attractive for startups to stay and grow here,” Senator Capito wrote.

The full op-ed is available here and below.

Encouraging Entrepreneurship, Innovation in the Mountain State
By: U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)
The Dominion Post
December 16, 2018

As I travel across West Virginia, it’s clear the economic climate is improving here, and there are many reasons to be optimistic about our state’s future.

Reforming our outdated tax code and rolling back burdensome regulations, as well as other pro-growth measures, have proven to be a winning combination for workers, small businesses, and economic growth, and they have encouraged an environment that’s putting West Virginia on a path to a brighter future.

That’s exactly the direction our state needs to be headed in, and we are well on our way. However, it’s critical that we continue to build on the momentum we’ve created.

Last month, two native sons of West Virginia and technology thought leaders, announced significant contributions to two of our state’s universities, West Virginia University and Marshall University. Working closely with the leaders of these institutions—including WVU President Gordon Gee and Marshall President Dr. Jerry Gilbert—it’s my hope that these gifts of money and time catalyze the beginning of a new era of innovation for the Mountain State.

I was present for Charleston native and former CEO and chairman of Cisco Systems, Inc. John Chambers’ announcement of a generous gift to WVU’s College of Business and Economics. His donation, along with his personal time commitment, will result in the creation of a new business accelerator called Startup West Virginia and provide seed capital for companies launched there.

Similarly, Huntington native and CEO of Intuit Brad Smith and his wife, Alys, made a multi-million dollar gift to support the redesign, reorganization, and re-energizing of Marshall’s College of Business. This gift will help build new facilities and provide resources to support innovation and redefine the business school’s curriculum. 

By investing in our universities and creating and expanding programs to include more applicable curriculums focused on innovation and entrepreneurship, we can bring out the creative and entrepreneurial spirit that lives inside our students.

It’s clear that collaboration among multiple sectors and industries is working. And, it’s providing invaluable experience for the next generation of workers and entrepreneurs. It also has the potential to transform our economy and encourage more startups throughout the state.

Future economic growth is contingent upon fostering an environment that promotes entrepreneurship, and I am committed to helping innovative startups access critical federal research dollars that will help them make their ideas and visions realities. We must successfully work to create an environment that makes our state attractive for startups to stay and grow here. That is exactly what these two examples at WVU and Marshall are meant to do: provide access to the education and tools that will prepare our next generation of entrepreneurs and establish a supportive environment that allows innovative startups to exist and thrive.

In the Senate, I’ve focused on a variety efforts to contribute to this pro-entrepreneurial, pro-growth environment—two in particular that I believe can be instrumental in cultivating, attracting, and retaining innovative talent in West Virginia. Those areas are access to both broadband and capital.

Take connectivity for example. We can have the most skilled workforce and innovative ideas in the world, but if we don’t have connectivity, we’re limiting our economic potential. That’s exactly why I have been working to advance solutions that will help close the digital divide in our state, something my Capito Connect plan has been successful in achieving since I launched the program in 2015.

Another critical component to our success is ensuring that those with new and innovative ideas have access to capital that will allow them to stay in West Virginia. That is why I am a strong proponent of the Opportunity Zone program, a provision included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Through Opportunity Zones, we can help drive investment from around the country into new and existing innovative companies in the Mountain State—enabling them to stay, grow, and create more jobs here at home.

I’m committed to working with our universities, businesses, and other local leaders to create even more opportunities to move our state forward. So much good work is already being done to build a strong workforce, grow the economy, and attract new investments. Let’s keep the momentum going! 

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