As part of last year’s budget request (for FY2013), President Obama included a provision to create a Community College to Career Fund (see early posting). The Fact Sheet on the program published last year notes:
The Community College to Career Fund will support pathways to entrepreneurship for 5 million small business owners over three years through the nation’s workforce system and its partners, including: a six-week online training course on entrepreneurship that could reach up to 500,000 new entrepreneurs and an intensive six-month entrepreneurship training program resulting in entrepreneurship certification for 100,000 small business owners.
Unfortunately, this program was never funded. But the Administration keeps pushing for the program. It was including in the manufacturing initiative announced in February and is included in President’s budget for FY2014 released yesterday (an $8 billion request in the Departments of Labor and Education budgets).
I strongly support this initiative. However, I would suggest one addition: the training courses needs to include intangible asset management. As Mary Adams and I noted in our paper Intellectual Capital Management and Entrepreneurial Mentoring and Education, entrepreneurship mentoring and training needs to move beyond technical assistance:
Many such technical assistance resources already exist: legal, accounting, financial etc. In fact, an important part of the mentoring process is connecting the struggling entrepreneur with the appropriate technical resources. However, there is one set of technical assistance resources that are yet to be fully developed and deployed to help entrepreneurs: intellectual or intangible capital (IC) management. Economy-wide, IC comprises a large part of corporate value. In some high-growth companies this percentage can often approach 100% and successful management of IC is often the key to their success.
. . .
While large companies can afford the consulting expertise required to undertake IC management, such assistance is not available in an accessible, cost-effective form to high-growth start-ups. Intangible assets are basically all most start-ups have. It is critical therefore that entrepreneurs are able to visualize and articulate what are the start-up’s intangible assets and how they work as a system. This is especially important for investors but also for recruitment and strategy. Start-ups need to thinking carefully about their business models: how to get paid for what they know-including navigating between free and paid aspects of a value proposition. Keeping track of intangible investments is an important way of backing up the story of the company’s development. Finally, entrepreneurs need to understand that the ultimate reputation of their organization will be earned as a result of good intangibles management.
Adding an intangibles management module to the course would be a huge step forward.