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Monday, January 31, 2011

Let's Get Started, America!

White House Launches Entrepreneur Initiative and Partnership (Watch Live here)

Startup America,” a national campaign to help America achieve these goals by promoting high-growth entrepreneurship across the country with new initiatives to help encourage private sector investment in job-creating startups and small firms, accelerate research, and address barriers to success for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

“Entrepreneurs embody the promise of America: the belief that if you have a good idea and are willing to work hard and see it through, you can succeed in this country. And in fulfilling this promise, entrepreneurs also play a critical role in expanding our economy and creating jobs. That’s why we're launching Startup America, a national campaign to help win the future by knocking down barriers in the path of men and women in every corner of this country hoping to take a chance, follow a dream, and start a business”, said President Obama.
A few promising features in the Startup America plan include:

The President’s new budget will propose making permanent the elimination of capital gains taxes on key investments in small businesses, which was passed as a temporary provision in 2010 as part of the Small Business Jobs Act the President signed in September. The budget will also propose expanding the New Markets Tax Credit to encourage private sector investment in startups and small businesses operating in lower-income communities.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) will direct $2 billion in existing guarantee authority over the next 5 years to match private sector investment funding for startups and small firms in underserved communities, as well as seed and early-stage investing in firms with high growth potential, through its Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program.

Together SBA and the Department of Energy will boost high-quality mentorship for cleantech startups, while the Veterans Administration is launching new training programs for Veterans who want to start new businesses.

The Department of Commerce will expand the i6 Challenge to help foster the commercialization of clean technologies, and are finalizing a plan to allow entrepreneurs to request faster review of their patents, an initiative that should lower patent pendency times overall and speed the deployment of new ideas to the marketplace.

Private Sector and Philanthropic Committments
Some examples of the private sector and philanthropic commitments that will be announced alongside the launch of the “Startup America Partnership,” the private sector initiative, are below:

Expand startup accelerators that provide seed funding and intensive mentorship, allowing the Astia network to serve twice as many women entrepreneurs, the MassChallenge competition to extend its national reach from Boston’s Innovation District, and the new TechStars Network to boost the success rate of 6,000 entrepreneurs in 15 regions, including Miami, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City, Nashville, and New Orleans.

Scale up programs that prepare K-12 and college students to start their own companies, such as the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Blackstone LaunchPad, Junior Achievement, National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, the Virtual Incubation Network for America’s Community Colleges, and the Artists & Instigators Practicum.

Increase corporate investment and support for start ups from companies such as Intel, HP, IBM, Facebook, and others.

Foster innovation and entrepreneurship in states and regions such as Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, and New Orleans, building on the success of models such as JumpStart America and the Deshpande Foundation’s innovation centers.

The initiative joins the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), the organization that brings entrepreneurial training to high school students, especially those in low income communities.

“When I launched NFTE nearly 25 years ago, it was with one simple belief, that learning basic business principles at an early age is the best anti-poverty program of all. NFTE is proud to be a member of the Startup America Partnership and contribute to the White House’s goal of building an entrepreneurial ecosystem that will strengthen the America economy immediately and make it more resilient for years to come,” said Steve Mariotti, NFTE’s Founder.

NFTE Alum, Zoe Damacela, will be the lead off speaker at the White House event today telling her inspirational story of how entrepreneurship changed her life:  "I had an intern and three employees at 17", said Damacela, who visited earlier today with President Obama in the Oval office. 

Damacela, an aspiring fashion designer, said of NFTE that it helped her with writing a business plan and pricing her product.

"I sold my first dress for $13, when I should have sold it $250", said Damacela as she explained her business naivete before NFTE.

Said Secretary of the Department of Commerce, Gary Locke, "We can out-innovate any country in the world."  Adding, helping get the ideas of entrepreneurs "from the drawing room to the factory floor" helps America compete in the global marketplace.

The event was co-chaired Karen Mills, Administrator of the Small Business Administration, Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council, Austan Goolsbee, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, and top entrepreneurs and small business owners from across the country.

Empowering Entrepreneurs, a roundtable disscussion website, geared toward listening to barriers entrepreneurs face, and how to remove them, will be available in the near future.  Entrepreneurs will be able to submit their experiences and talk about the struggles they face.

More on the initiative here.

Start Up America News
IBM commits $150M to SUA
AOL, HP, FaceBook other businesses on board
Follow SUA on Twitter at #startupamerica

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