Mayor McGinn gets his geek on: From Ignite to SURF Incubator

McGinn

Mayor Mike McGinn continues to reach out to the startup and entrepreneurial communities in Seattle, popping up at various events around town. Earlier this week, we covered McGinn’s 5-minute talk at Ignite.

In that talk, McGinn said the city is working hard to create places in the community where artists, scientists and entrepreneurs can interact. “That fuels our economy. It’s not an old vs. new economy. Everyone has to innovate,” he said.

Now, here’s another video of McGinn talking to the entrepreneurial community at a visit earlier this month at the new SURF Incubator in downtown Seattle. Among the topics covered in the talk: parking; public transit; education; the “regressive” B&O tax system; using government funds to invest in startups; city competitiveness in attracting startups; and whether the city could purchase services from startups.

In minute 23, Seaton Gras of SURF Incubator asks about a city-supported venture capital fund that could support startups, similar to what the City of Philadelphia just announced.

“We are happy to look at every idea, particularly from other cities, about how to provide seed money or training,” said McGinn. Hoever, he added that using tax dollars for that purpose “runs head on into our state prohibition of gifting public property.”

McGinn said they should certainly take a look at other models, but in many regards the city’s hands are tied.

“There are a lot of institutional biases in government against change that we’ve been working to overcome,” says McGinn (minute 32:30). “You get process after process built up.”

McGinn convened a group of startup leaders earlier this year in which he talked about some of these issues as well, following the path of other government leaders such as Mayor Michael Bloomberg who has worked hard to elevate New York’s tech community. [RelatedMayor McGinn convenes startup roundtable: Could these 5 ideas transform Seattle’s startup community?]

Here’s McGinn’s chat at SURF (warning, the quality is low).