This could be the Year of the Entrepreneurs, according to the Kauffman Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship. Panelists at the Foundation’s fourth annual State of Entrepreneurship Address event in Washington D.C. spotlighted the continuing growth of America’s entrepreneurial community, highlighted recent successes and offered federal policy recommendations to support U.S. entrepreneurs.Happy entrepreneur with arms raised

“In my opinion, the entrepreneurial bug has hit the country,” panelist Alan Patricof, founder of Greycroft Partners, a venture capital firm, told event attendees.

As an indication of today’s attractive entrepreneurial¬†climate, Ramana Nanda, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, reported a 50% increase in the number of business school graduates that are choosing to start their own businesses immediately following graduation as opposed to seeking employment at an established company.

The economy and job market may have some impact on the growing attraction of entrepreneurship. More limited employment options and today’s lower starting salaries add to the attraction of following your own dream.

In an address to the National Press Club, Kauffman Foundation President and CEO Tom McDonnell spotlighted five key policy changes that the foundation believes could significantly improve the business climate for American entrepreneurs and boost the success of entrepreneurial ventures:

  1. Preventing over-regulation of crowdfunding sites and initiatives could help to decrease the financial risk entailed in developing a new business by increasing available financing.
  2. Making greater use of IPO auctions as opposed to using set prices for new stock offerings could help improve financial flexibility for new entrepreneurial ventures.
  3. Increasing regulatory flexibility to allow greater control of loan approval at the local level could help encourage greater local investment in new businesses by the banking community.
  4. Giving shareholders the right to set certain accounting rules that regulate business financial practices could offer entrepreneurs greater flexibility in developing and growing their businesses.
  5. Creating venture capital funds that offer longer terms than are available today could help to level the playing field and bring large and small investor interests into closer alignment.