Making Tennessee the Innovation Capital of America

January 5, 2023 9:18AM

The Beacon Center established an Entrepreneurship and Innovation Council — comprised of some of the state’s leading entrepreneurs and innovative policymakers — to identify the barriers that should be eliminated and the market-friendly policies that should be adopted to fuel entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs by their nature are problem solvers and they know better than anyone what actual hurdles prevent them from achieving their visions.

The Council met throughout 2022 to study barriers imposed on entrepreneurs and innovators, researched solutions that other states and nations have advanced, and crafted new and unique solutions to these problems. The Council chose to balance its efforts and recommendations in a way that will benefit all Tennessee small businesses, from mom-and-pop shops to the high-tech. To leverage Tennessee’s existing strengths and attract new emerging sectors, the Council made recommendations in four areas:

1. Entry Barriers: What are the costs and other barriers for entrepreneurs looking to launch businesses? Here, the Council sought to duplicate Delaware’s strong business climate and ease of starting a business.

2. Taxes: Tennessee already has a strong tax climate as an income tax-free state; however, there are numerous opportunities for reform on the business side, particularly around reducing compliance costs and reforming taxes that punish entrepreneurs and startups.

3. Healthcare: Tennessee, and particularly Nashville, is a leader in the healthcare services industry. What reforms are necessary to expand the state’s status as a healthcare hub?

4. Blockchain: How can Tennessee become a magnet for the development of revolutionary blockchain technology beyond its traditional applications in finance and financial technology?

The recommendations in this report are by no means an exhaustive list of free-market reforms that would help foster entrepreneurship and innovation. However, these recommendations, if acted upon by policymakers, would create the largest leverage points to make Tennessee the capital of entrepreneurship and innovation in the United States.