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Apr 14, 2013

Economic Incentives for Small Technology Businesses

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What kinds of incentives would appeal to the small, knowledge-economy, technology businesses  for the purpose of getting such businesses to locate in a revitalizing urban district?

Well… first of all the revitalizing urban district itself is an incentive.¬† The walkable urban experience is a compelling location for the lifestyle components it brings. So, continue your infrastructure improvements and try not to tear anything down.

Also, I want to put forward the crucial overarching theme to remember: Let’s not give anything to any individual business, instead lets invest in environmental factors that any business could capitalize on. Please note that this is the MOST important thing.

The government has no business selecting specific businesses and awarding money to them and tax incentives. The data on the negatives of such behavior is overwhelming.

We also have no business being a marketing firm or reviewing business or marketing plans, etc. Why? Because we stink at it. And it gets in the way of the natural capitalistic process. We need poorly run, ill-conceived businesses to fail and well-conceived, well-run businesses to prosper. We need the entrepreneur and the marketplace to dictate success, not a committee. Committees are particularly bad at business.

So that being said… Let’s first look at what a business needs, then lets look at a way we can create environmental solutions versus awarding these needs to specific chosen businesses.

So if the question is: What do we (now the “we” is the small knowledge-economy business owners) need? Then the answer is always Money.

But a better question is what do we want to do with the money? Money is never an end. Always a means.

Well… We need money because we need:

  • people
  • space (with utilities)
  • WiFi
  • software
  • hardware
  • business services
  • W2 versus 1099 (payroll + insurance)

Ok. So, again, do not choose specific businesses and give them money or these things above. Instead, seek to create an environment where these things are

  • better
  • cheaper
  • easier to get

For example, have free, robust WiFi in your revitalizing urban district. That allows any business that moves there to capitalize on that incentive. Invest in cowork and keyman space. Look at group licensing models for software distribution, and so on.

Then, let capitalism weed them out.

Author Details
Jason
Jason Broadwater

Jason is a keynote speaker and project designer for economic development and community collaboration in the New Economy. Jason is also founder of RevenFlo (an internet marketing and application development company).

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