By Ilyas Choudry, TMO
Legislation filed to allow agencies to hire private sector entrepreneur-in-residence
The term â€œpublic-private partnershipsâ€ between state agencies and the private sector could soon become more than just financial arrangements that construct roads and buildings.
Legislation has been filed during the current session of the Texas Legislature that would add a new mechanism to existing law that will partner the public and private sectors. The bill would allow Texas state agencies to participate in an entrepreneur-in-residency program. While the Texas Entrepreneurship Network already exists, it is designed to encourage entrepreneurs in the private sector. The new legislation, filed in the Senate by Sen. John Carona and in the House by Rep. Larry Gonzales, provides a mechanism for the transfer of private sector knowledge to the public sector.
Generally speaking, new technology, innovation and efficiency methods find their way to the private sector much faster than they do to the public sector. But the state does maintain a good working relationship with the private sector, through procurement and contracting relationships and public-private partnerships. And, sharing the knowledge of the private sector after it has studied and tested new technology, new programs and new ideas and developed best practices that can often save time and money could be a boon for the public sector.
This legislation is seen as a way of allowing – and encouraging – the transfer of information, whether proven best practices or state-of-the-art knowledge, from the private to the public sector. It would allow state agencies to use open full-time employee positions to employ an entrepreneur-in-residence (EIR). The goal would be to strengthen coordination and interaction between state government and the private sector, facilitate the use of new technology to make state government more transparent and interactive and implement best practices used in the private sector to ensure simple, easily accessible and more efficient programs that are used by Texans.
While an entrepreneur-in-residence program already exists in the private sector, this legislation would create a similar program in which any state agency, commission, department, office or other agency in the executive branch, including institutions of higher education, could participate. The bill calls for only 10 entrepreneurs-in-residence in state agencies per fiscal year, with those appointed serving no more than two years. Candidates must have demonstrated success in their fields, success in working with small business concerns and entrepreneurs and must have successfully developed, invented or created a product and brought that product to the marketplace.