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Governor encourages innovation, creativity

Vienna Wagner | Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Governor Mitch Daniels humored fans of Star Trek as he explained why Indiana should be the place where Notre Dame graduates choose to “go forth and prosper” during his lecture on enterprise and entrepreneurship in the Mendoza College of Business’s Entrepreneurial Insights lecture series.

“The objective is to make talented people like you to plant your flag in this state,” Daniels said Tuesday. “We want talented people like you to stay in Indiana.”

Daniels emphasized the importance of innovation and the creative minds its fosters in the state of Indiana.

“The culture in our state encourages and celebrates those rare individuals who make the most change in our society,” Daniels said. “The death of Steve Jobs made people think about the incredible effect that one person can have on the lives of others. The great scientist inventor has more of an impact on history than the greatest statesman.”

Entrepreneurs have had a large impact on Daniels’s own life, he said. Daniels cited his gubernatorial campaign in 2004 as a direct result of entrepreneurial innovation.

“The guy who nagged me into running for office is the same sensational, young Indiana entrepreneur [Bill Oesterle] who started Angie’s List [a website for local service company reviews],” Daniels said.

Throughout his tenure as governor, Daniels asserted that he has striven to make Indiana more welcoming to the growth of new technological businesses such as Angie’s List.

“Seven years ago, until we changed it, if you bought a piece of heavy machinery, you did not pay sales tax,” he said. “However, if you bought high tech equipment, you did pay sales tax. We now have the highest tax credit for venture capital in the nation. I don’t know of a state that is more supportive of venture capital in its public policy than we are. The illusive and single most important element is to ramp up the rate at which new businesses form, succeed and blossom.”

Daniels also said government itself could become more effective by learning from business and business practices.

“Government is not and will never be a business, but it could be much more business-like,” he said. “We work to reward people, measure everything and build a culture of economy and performance in the state government.”

Part of making government more business-like involves making government accommodating of entrepreneurial endeavors, Daniels said. According to Daniels, Indiana is the best “sandbox” for investment in the nation.

“The spirit of enterprise is more essential now than ever,” he said. “It’s important to not obstruct the flowering and fruition of innovation. The spirit of enterprise is still strong in our state. There is nothing we prize more than people who invent, innovate and take that invention to the marketplace.”

Daniels closed his lecture by challenging Notre Dame students to contribute to the growth of Indiana enterprise.

“I hope that most of you will devote your careers to the noble endeavor of creating opportunities for others,” he said. “The very same spirit that innovates our best enterprises is still lacking in the public enterprise. I hope Indiana will be the place where you go forth and prosper.”