3 ways local governments can make their state or city more startup-friendly in 2018 | VentureBeat

Contrary to popular belief, government bureaucrats aren’t trying to thwart entrepreneurs at every turn. In my experience, the opposite has been true. The state and local government officials I meet with in my role as a vice president for an economic development organization in St. Charles, Missouri, increasingly see startups as important to the future of their economy. They understand that encouraging entrepreneurship is key to maintaining a strong employer base.

However, there are a few things that state and local governments can do better to support 21st century startups.

Embrace the scope of economic changes

We’ve only just begun to see the impact Amazon will have on local retail. If your employment or tax base depends on storefronts, you need to come up with an alternative funding model, and you need to do it quickly.

Similarly, if your community depends on manufacturing and the local plant either closed or is about to close, you need to face reality. Like Bruce Springsteen said more than 30 years ago in his song “My Hometown,” “Those jobs are going, boys, and they ain’t coming back.”

And if that job did come back, it’s increasingly likely that it would be filled by a robot.

Making stuff and selling stuff in a store has been a fundamental part of the modern economy since there was a modern economy. It’s scary to think of turning to a bunch of coders and programmers to fill a significant part of the revenue and employment gaps created by shrinking or disappearing retailers and manufacturers.

But you have to fully embrace the scope (and scariness) of a problem before you can solve it.

Enact startup-friendly public policy, not just tax cuts

I have been a part of the St. Louis regional startup community for three years. I have never — not even once — heard tax rates mentioned as a barrier to a startup’s success. However, I have heard founders mention a lack of seed money. Repeatedly.

Local, state, and federal government should at least discuss how the public sector could fill that early-funding gap. In some states (including Colorado and Pennsylvania), governments have already implemented innovative programs that at least partially address the lack of early-stage capital.

That said, there are instances where specific tax cuts and credits can help set the foundation for success.

Start a dialogue between local government and startups

Finish reading this article originally posted here.