Entrepreneur in residence (EIR) programs are among the new breed of government initiatives seeking to emulate the fast-paced success of new business models and strategies found in the private sector. San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oregon and federal Health and Human Services are among the offices pioneering EIR in the public sector. On March 16, Business Oregon, the state’s economic development arm, announced it will launch its own EIR program, while elevating another technology position to further innovation and entrepreneurship in the state.
The agency’s entrepreneur in residence will be Kanth Gopalpur, a Portland-based entrepreneur and angel investor, who will volunteer his time and expertise to serve as a policy adviser. Gopalpur has experienced success in the world of startups and entrepreneurship, and Ryan Frank, communications manager for Business Oregon, told Government Technology that Gopalpur will serve as the agency’s ambassador to get a stronger foothold in that arena.
“This is more than the announcement of two great hires,” Gov. Kate Brown said. “Under Heather's guidance, we are empowering the burgeoning economic assets right in our backyard — small business owners. As Oregon’s first entrepreneur in residence, Kanth will use his groundbreaking position to tap into the booming crop of entrepreneurs that call the Northwest home.”
Business Oregon Director Sean M. Robbins is also elevating the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship within his agency by giving greater prominence to a role focusing on innovative technology and entrepreneurs. Heather Stafford, executive director of Sustainable Valley Technology Group, a nonprofit Medford, Ore.-based business accelerator, is charged with leading innovation strategy for the agency.
“To keep Oregon competitive, we’re placing a high priority on innovation as a core value in Oregon’s statewide economic policies,” Robbins said in a press release. “Heather and Kanth will drive our strategy to accelerate Oregon’s position as a global player in innovation across all industries.”
Business Oregon recently assisted GPS device-maker Garmin in expanding to Salem, Ore., creating 65 new engineering jobs.
“If there’s a public interest in recruiting a company or helping a company expand, that’s where we get involved with either policies or core incentive programs to support it,” Frank said.
And the world of startups and fast-moving small and medium-sized businesses represents another impactful market waiting to be tapped.