SALT LAKE CITY -- While applauding Utah entrepreneurs for their contributions to the state's economy, Gov. Gary Herbert urged business owners to continue making the investments in research and employees that will lead to further growth.
During a luncheon at the state Capitol Tuesday that celebrated the state's locally owned businesses, Herbert said if every small business in the state hired just one more employee it would practically eliminate unemployment.
To encourage that, Herbert recently launched a "100,000 jobs in 1,000 days" initiative for Utah. However, he said the initiative's success will depend on businesses, not government.
"We're not just sitting pat and waiting for things to happen," Herbert said. "But we are also looking at the proper role of government, which sometimes is to just get out of the way."
To that end, Herbert said state officials are reviewing the almost 2,000 business regulations to determine which ones hinder business development without providing any public safety benefit.
Tuesday's luncheon was the first of a series of events planned around the state this week to encourage entrepreneurship. Others include a tour of a business incubator in suburban Salt Lake City and a forum at Westminster College.
The Governor's Office of Economic Development estimates 98 percent of the businesses in the state are small businesses owned by state residents. Those companies are responsible for 56 percent of all jobs in the state.
Some of those have grown into major corporations, such as Park City-based headphone manufacturer Skull Candy and Provo-based Ancestry.com, a website devoted to genealogical research.
For business owners aspiring to grow their business, venture capitalist Mike Levinthal said an investment in research and a willingness to take a risk are essential.
"Don't be afraid to fail. Be afraid of not succeeding," Levinthal said. "Fail to succeed. That is the key to entrepreneurial success."
Josh Loftin can be reached at http://twitter.com/joshloftin .