Our Guiding Principles & Philosophies


The Tarkenton Institute for Entrepreneurial Development...

As a Philosophy
As a private advocacy organization, we have the freedom to pursue a mission unhindered by the will of shareholders or voters — or that of the market at large. Our mission is driven by the same desire to innovate that turns the startups of today into the Global rainmakers of tomorrow.

As a Mission
We are committed to a single ideal: Pursuing and supporting activities that place modern innovation in the hands of modern entrepreneurs, where it flourishes, to the benefit of our economy — and our great nation — as a whole.

As Entrepreneur
We thus operate in the same fashion as the people and organizations that we represent. We are entrepreneurs; innovators, who take on risks, confront challenging circumstances, but are incented to continue our work, spurred on by the constitutional assurance that every citizen’s right to the pursuit of happiness is synonymous with the right to innovate through private enterprise.

On Taking our Economic Philosophies Personally
For example, as a privately funded foundation, the Tarkenton Institute is willing to establish a stake in outside business ventures by capitalizing startups that our founder believes offer innovative, forward-thinking concepts that improve the lives of Americans by meeting a specific demand in the marketplace.

On the Free Market
It’s the position of the Tarkenton Institute that a truly free market means only minor intervention from the government. The Institute views government as an agent of law enforcement elected to protect the civil liberties that we as citizens of the United States have mutually agreed are ours, as individuals, to protect.

On Property Rights
Government’s role is to ensure the preservation for each individual the right to own property.

As Health Care Reformer
Controlling the skyrocketing cost of health coverage and making it more accessible to small business is possible. Accomplishing that objective requires that we allow the same freedoms to doctors and medical organizations that we advocate for other independent entrepreneurs: Those that breed innovation.

As Tax Reformer
We believe that the American Tax system has become far too complex. The complexity of the tax system, coupled with the high rates at which small businesses are taxed, serves as a barrier to the growth of business.

We support the reduction of federal income-tax rates and an increase in the expensing limit for small businesses, and we advocate making such changes permanent. When entrepreneurs are able to keep more of their money while operating in a consistent, predictable tax system, they are more likely to intelligently reinvest it within their businesses and others, thus fueling the creation of jobs in the general interest of the national economy.

An Outspoken Advocate for Small Business

For more than 40 years, Fran Tarkenton has referred to himself as small business owner.

Fran has founded 15 successful businesses during his 40-year career as a self-described serial entrepreneur. An NFL Hall of Famer and former quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants, Fran has spent his post-football years as the driver behind a long list of entrepreneurial initiatives in a range of industries, from software development to direct marketing.

After the sale of his company KnowledgeWare to Sterling Software in 1994, Fran set out to develop an organization that could bring entrepreneurs like himself all the resources they’d need to thrive in today’s highly competitive marketplace.

The result was the Fran Tarkenton Small Business Network, later renamed GoSmallBiz.com when the company took its services online. Today, the GoSmallBiz family has grown to include more than 52,000 active members all over North America.

In 2008, Fran launched two new companies, each anchored by the same mission that has brought him continued success for more than 40 years: To help entrepreneurs manage and grow their businesses by providing access to a comprehensive body of knowledge and resources designed specifically for micro business. The Tarkenton Institute was the first. Lodestar Technology Labs, a software development company focused on productivity solutions for smaller operations was the second.

Same Opinions, New Forum

Today, Fran writes a regular blog at FranTarkenton.com. He also writes a weekly column published on both SoHOWire.com and GoSmallBiz.com, in which he describes his views on relevant issues affecting American entrepreneurs and small business owners.