When state leaders discuss broadening prosperity, some focus on wooing large corporations to set up shop in their state—and to do so, trade low taxes, loosened regulations, and even public subsidies in exchange for jobs. Others focus on regulating and redistributing wealth from existing businesses (which is good!), but have little to say about generating new ventures. What’s rarely discussed is creating the conditions for endogenous, inclusive growth—for broadening productive power; for affirmatively helping residents launch startups; for expanding entrepreneurship beyond the well-connected, white, males who are disproportionately represented among American entrepreneurs; for expanding entrepreneurship beyond the fast-growth, profit-maximizing corporate form to other forms, like cooperative and community enterprises; for, put concisely, democratizing entrepreneurship.
Over the coming months, the Democracy Policy Network (DPN) aims to compile three policy kits about ways states can democratize entrepreneurship:
- (1) A policy kit on democratizing technology to small- and medium-sized enterprises (including cooperatives);
- (2) A policy kit about the variety of tools states can use to promote “community investment” — local crowdfunding investment and stock exchanges; redirecting endowments and pensions to community businesses and cooperatives; using procurement to promote community wealth-building, creating state venture funds, and more;
- (3) A policy kit about promoting community accelerators and other forms of community- and government-support to startups (including cooperatives).
In addition to compiling these kits, we aim to disseminate them to our network of state legislators, staffers, advocates — as well as hold live video briefings on each kit for our network.
To build these, we at DPN are looking to hire a democratically-spirited, policy-minded Democratizing Entrepreneurship Fellow. This is a paid position for part-time, self-directed work over six months. Apply below:
What’s the Democracy Policy Network?
Founded in 2019, the Democracy Policy Network (DPN) is an interstate network that organizes policy support for the next generation of state leaders working to deepen democracy in statehouses across America. By organizing policy experts, volunteer researchers, and statehouse leaders to gather, package, organize, and amplify a transformative, deep-dive policy agenda spanning every state issue, we aim to accelerate the democratic transformation of America. Learn more in our launch video below:
A new generation of legislators, armed with a fresh vision of deepening democracy — more power to more people in more ways — is shaking up statehouses across America. But a state policy gap threatens this groundswell! Movement policy is scattered and traditional policy infrastructure isn’t bold enough. There’s no synchronized, interstate offensive to counter the anti-democratic policy assault on the states. And the Movement’s state legislators feel isolated and understaffed. They want backup from an interstate community.
DPN aims to provide that backup by organizing policy support for the Movement’s state legislators and staffers. A new think tank isn’t what’s needed. The Movement’s ideas are out there — and the Movement’s state legislators are ready to champion them. What’s needed is some interstate organization and coordination. That’s where DPN comes in:
- We train policy organizers to gather and package state policy ideas from Movement advocates and thinkers.
- We publish policy kits that make transformative state policy ideas radically accessible — and ready to champion.
- We convene the Movement’s state legislators to connect them to one another and to the Movement’s policies.
- We support members of our state legislator network as they champion big ideas in their respective statehouses.
DPN’s mission is to organize an interstate policy agenda and a community of state leaders to champion it. Learn more at our website, DemocracyPolicy.network.
What does working with DPN entail?
At the center of our policy system are policy organizers: passionate people working to gather promising state policies from Movement experts and advocates, package them into useful policy kits for our network of state legislators, and amplify them to legislators, journalists, and the public at large.
When you join up with DPN as a policy organizer, you are paired with a policy project (ex. “mass decarceration," “teenage voting,” “clean water.”) You are then trained to scour the Movement for reports and precedents — and to pick up the phone to speak with experts and practitioners. We then take that research and, with an eye toward
our vision of a deeper democracy, begin to package it into organized, accessible, and useful policy kits for state legislators. These kits aim to consist of everything you need to champion the policy: background context, detailed explanations of policy elements, case study analysis, talking points, model legislation, packets of articles to read for more information, a list of experts to contact for further inquiries, and more.
As you gather, package, and amplify your policy kit, you are supported all along the way. All policy kit projects are assigned an editor that helps guide you through the process. You are placed in a community with other policy organizers — and you help each other out on slack and through routine team calls. And all policy kits follow a specific process and format that splits your project into manageable steps.
Most DPN policy organizers are volunteers, but when we receive grants for specific policy projects, we are able to hire fellows as paid positions to complete particular kits. As a fellow, you would be in charge of creating and promoting multiple policy kits by a certain deadline.
What are the details of the Democratizing Entrepreneurship Fellowship?
- SALARY: $30,000 over the course of the fellowship, paid bi-weekly
- TIMELINE: Six months of work — we are aiming to have our three Democratizing Entrepreneurship policy kits complete by late Spring 2022
- WORK ROUTINE: Self-directed remote work with routine check-ins, but aiming for an average of 30 hours per week of work. (Put another way: You can do other minor gigs while working as a DPN fellow, but we hope this can be your major focus over the coming months.)
- DELIVERABLES: Three policy kits about democratizing entrepreneurship (described above), complete with background information, descriptions of policy elements, case studies of precedents, a bullpen of experts that you have spoken with, and a syllabus of further readings; plus 3-5 video presentations to state leaders on the content of the kits.
- BACKGROUND: If you are policy-minded; democratically-spirited; love reading, writing, and talking with experts; are able to doggedly work on a meaty research project over the long haul; and have an interest in democratizing entrepreneurship, community wealth-building, startup support, technology uptake, institution-building, democracy, and theories of production, you would make a great Democratizing Entrepreneurship Fellow. A professional background in policy research and writing is a plus, but we are open to people from non-traditional professional backgrounds.
How do I apply?
Apply at DemocracyPolicy.network/DEFellow or by clicking the image below. The application is quick — we just need a bit of information about you and your interests to see if you are a good fit.
We are processing applications on a rolling basis, but our hard deadline is October 22nd.
We hope you can join us — and pass this information along to others who you think would be interested.