April 27, 2015

By Bob Coleman
Editor, Main Street Monday

The Office of Advocacy has released a study examining the challenges holding back small innovators.

Lessons from the 3D Printing Industry, which I am fascinated with,identifies the barriers hindering the growth and development of small innovative companies, and offers solutions to those barriers.

Eleven key barriers to small innovative company growth are identified in the report, and each barrier is discussed in three parts.

The 11 barriers that exist across the innovation process timeline include:

Student debt: The amount of student debt held by graduating students prevents them from pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities.

Increased R&D: The amount of funding and support of research and development in the United States needs to increase.

Identifying market needs: Entrepreneurs often lack information regarding market needs and
product research and development efforts.

Shortage of engineering and job production talent: There is a general consensus among technology firms that there is a shortage of engineering and production job talent which can slow company growth.

Capital access: Access to capital still impedes small business growth.

Difficulty commercializing products: Many small companies have difficulty commercializing (i.e. begin to sell to market) their technology products.

Technology diffusion and adoption: Technology diffusion and adoption is more difficult for small businesses.

New technology implementation costs: High equipment costs are a barrier to entry for small businesses implementing new technologies.

Lack of small business opportunities: Small companies want the government to make a stronger effort to buy more goods and services from them.

Legal uncertainty: Technology innovations often result in regulatory uncertainty and legal challenges.

Exporting: Small companies continue to face challenges exporting their products and services.

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