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Growth Council? C’mon.

I’m so confused. Governor Doyle’s new Growth Council seems like a well-intentioned group, but I’m concerned that they’re out of touch. After looking at the roster of council members, I was astonished that only three women were mentioned, to say nothing of minorities and young talent.

So I set-off on a fact-finding mission and found that:

1) Four out of five new businesses in the U.S. are started by women, Gen X’ers (b. 1961-1981), and minorities (Source: US Small Business Administration)

2) Small businesses create 80% of all jobs (Source: US Small Business Administration)

3) Women-led businesses bring 10-15% more value to their IPO’s than their male-led peers (Source: Businessweek, 2002)
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Based on these key elements – which demonstrate the critical role that women, X’ers, and minorities will play in Wisconsin’s economic recovery – I am flummoxed that the “Doyle Doctrine” (is that a joke?) is not soliciting more input from them. Great companies don’t roll out new products without talking to their key clients, learning everything they can about their preferences and demographics. Yet, this seems to be exactly the course the Doyle administration is taking with its Growth Council.

Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If Wisconsin continues to shape economic policy and cull ideas from the same minds that’ve done it for 20+ years – without making a place at the table for those who are driving new growth - I imagine we’ll get the same results we’ve always had.


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About the author. Rebecca Ryan is a woman, a Gen X’er and a successful entrepreneur who helps pay the Doyle administration salaries by contributing both income and corporate taxes in Wisconsin. Her company, Next Generation Consulting, studies talent trends within companies and communities. Her work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine and on Fox and NBC. Ryan was recently named a 2003 “Woman of Influence” by the Milwaukee Business Journal in the category of Innovation. Milwaukee Magazine named Ryan one of Milwaukee’s 35 “Faces of the Future.”

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