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Columbia U tech transfer exec blasts Trump administration’s freeze on entrepreneur visas


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: August 2nd, 2017

In a Crain’s New York opinion piece, Orin Herskowitz, senior vice president of intellectual property and technology transfer at Columbia University, describes why a recent move to freeze the entrepreneur visa program by the Trump administration poses a direct threat to entrepreneurship and innovation in New York City.

“We have a governor and mayor who each recognize that strengthening the nexus between applied science and commerce leads to more jobs, tax revenues and neighborhood revitalization — not to mention products that improve and save lives,” Herskowitz writes.

But the Trump administration’s decision to freeze the International Entrepreneur Rule, which grants special visas to immigrants based on the potential of their new businesses in the U.S., could slow the progress of entrepreneurship and economic growth in New York and across the country, says Herskowitz.

“The cost of this reversal is obvious to every New Yorker familiar with the entrepreneurial engine of the city’s current economic growth,” he writes, “What sense does it make for the next  [biotech start-up founder] to end up doing her research and launching her companies in Montreal instead of Manhattan?”

The president’s proposed budget also puts innovation and entrepreneurship at risk as it reduces funding for basic science, and a simultaneous retreat from robust patent protection is beginning to work against innovators who are trying to turn their research into products and companies.

“At a time of sharp political division, one thing most Americans can agree on is that we want to have the world’s most dynamic economy,” Herskowitz says. “So much can be achieved when government helps to marry cutting-edge science with economically productive ventures. All of us with a stake in the economy must work to preserve the mix of longtime federal policies that support technological innovation and the economic growth it drives.

“Our future,” he concludes, “depends on it.”

Source: Crain’s New York Business

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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