Editorial: Fixing our ‘entrepreneurial capacity’


A recent editorial by the Marietta Times:

Ohio has some work to do if it is to attract the kinds of employers that will propel its economy to prosperity. According to an Axios report on Heartland Forward’s analysis of states’ “entrepreneurial capacity,” the Buckeye State ranked 40th in terms of new companies, business-friendliness and access, and government grants among other factors.

Heartland Forward is an Arkansas-based think tank “dedicated to improving economic performance in America’s Heartland.” Its study showed young firms accounted for only 8% of the state’s employment share; and that only 29% of the population has a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Ohio also ranked 31st for percentage of households with a computer and 26th for business research and development spending per million people.

Of course, the Columbus area fared better than the state as a whole. But neighboring states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania fared considerably better than Ohio. (On the other hand, neighbor West Virginia was ranked dead last.)

As Axios points out, Ohio is trying to recruit residents and employers with expensive billboards in places such as Boston, New York and San Francisco. It is a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation as policymakers hope new blood will boost our economy … and it will take at least some steps toward a more diversified, vibrant economy to attract new blood.

Step one might be to get out of our own way. With a little more honesty about what attracts the kinds of people who are now fueling the economies of our nation’s large metropolitan areas, and a little more willingness to step away from the way things have always been done, there’s no reason Ohio can’t climb the ranks in terms of “entrepreneurial capacity.”

— Marietta Times, Nov. 4