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Milstein Commission on Entrepreneurship and Middle Class Jobs

Commission Co-Chairs Steve Case and Carly Fiorina

AOL founder and CEO of Revolution, LLC Steve Case and former Chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard Carly Fiorina co-chaired the Milstein Symposium's second commission. Its focus was on improving the middle class through entrepreneurship via a series of actionable, nonpartisan, and impactful ideas.

The closed-door meeting took place in May of 2014 with the full report entitled, "Can Startups Save the American Dream?" released in January of 2015. The work marked the Miller Center's first collaboration with the Batten Institute at U.Va.’s Darden School of Business. 

Group membership featured leaders from the policy, business, academic, and journalism communities. The stated goal was to introduce a series of innovative ideas and policies to help rebuild the American Dream through entrepreneurship. 

The Commission: 

  • Ross Baird, Executive Director, Village Capital
  • Sean D. Carr, Executive Director of the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Aaron "Ronnie" Chatterji, Duke University's Fuqua School of Business; former senior economist, White House Council of Economic Advisers
  • Amy Cosper, Vice President and Editor-in-Chief, “Entrepreneur” magazine 
  • James Douglas, former Governor of Vermont, 2003-2011

  • Michael Lenox, Academic Director of the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Maya MacGuineas, President, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
  • Jen Medbery, Founder, Kickboard
  • Brian Meece, CEO, Rockethub
  • Lenny Mendonca, entrepreneur and director emeritus, McKinsey & Company
  • Karen Mills, Senior Fellow, Harvard Business School; former Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Warren Thompson, President and Chairman, Thompson Hospitality Services  

The final document put forth five innovative ideas: 

1. Unlock Capital for Main Street Entrepreneurs: Unlock Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) funds and increase Community Development Financial Instititution (CDFI) investments to enhance available capital. 

2. Accelerate Impact Investing through PRIs: Revise regulations governing Program-Related Investments (PRIs) and expand awareness surrounding them to push mainstream investors towards this largely untapped and impactful source of funding. 

3. Build a Regulatory Roadmap: Create a "roadmap" website that helps new and emerging businesses navigate the regulatory landscape. The idea boosts transparency and improves outcomes by underscoring best practices nationally. 

4. Empower the Next Generation of Entrepreneurial Leaders: Build a national entrepreneurship competition for students at the K-12 level to expose them to a new way of thinking and new series of opportunities before they graduate. 

5. Equip Civic Leaders to Build Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: A plug-and-play "ecosystem-in-a-box" concept that combines the latest research with the unique qualities of a given community to provide civic leaders with a playbook to build their own vibrant entrepreneurial cluster. 

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