State Policy Network
Libertas Institute helps thousands of Utah businesses and entrepreneurs with innovative regulatory sandbox

Alex Carter lost his life savings. He created a cost-sharing business in the auto repair industry and invested a quarter million dollars to build his entrepreneurial dream before government officials later shut it down, claiming his services were an illegal form of insurance—which they weren’t.

Alex’s real crime was thinking outside the box, innovating in a way that policymakers had not previously contemplated. He had no remedy; he couldn’t afford lobbyists or lawyers to take up his fight. He shut the company down and moved on with his life.

This is a total tragedy, and frankly un-American. Across the country, would-be startups like Alex’s never get off the ground because of incumbent protections and antiquated regulations. How can we change this trend?

That’s the exact question asked by the Libertas Institute at SPN’s inaugural LaunchPad—a workshop where think tank leaders present project ideas and receive feedback from a group of experienced entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world. Libertas left LaunchPad with a three-year campaign—which they executed successfully in only two years—to create the country’s first regulatory sandbox to benefit business owners in any and all industries.

This sandbox concept allows innovators to be shielded from laws and regulations that inhibit their business model, product, or service. It allows them to be dynamic while giving them a “legal safe space” in which to operate free from punishment. Policymakers then have time to play catch up and amend the law, rather than giving a great business idea a black eye in the press by shutting it down.

The pandemic, while challenging in other respects, opened up an opportunity for Libertas to accelerate their efforts and push for the “all-inclusive” regulatory sandbox a year ahead of time, by offering a policy solution to Utah officials looking to support economic recovery and help struggling businesses. Through this reform, state lawmakers will be better able to find and remove burdensome regulations, and hardworking Utah residents will now be able to more easily set up a business and create opportunities and jobs for the people in their communities.

This innovative deregulation model is quickly spreading to other states, led by the Libertas Institute team. Policymakers across the country are excited about the opportunity to boost their state’s economic recovery and implement a forward-thinking solution that embraces entrepreneurs and innovation.

Libertas’ ultimate goal is to get a regulatory sandbox created at the federal level, where the most burdensome restrictions for businesses exist. Their success, and subsequent efforts in other states, will increase Libertas’ ability to achieve this goal and help millions of business owners throughout the country.

For their achievement in bringing this innovative idea to Utah and states across the country, the Libertas Institute is a finalist in State Policy Network’s Bob Williams Awards for Outstanding Policy Achievement, in the Biggest Win for Freedom Category.

Policy Issues: Economy
States: Utah
Organization: State Policy Network