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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Entrepreneurs pitch their product, service during White House 'Demo Day'

Demo Day is normally done in the presence of wealthy Venture Capitalists (VCs) where entrepreneurs pitch (or demonstrate) their product or service idea in hopes of receiving funding (and recognition) to take their business idea to the next level.  

On Tuesday, in the first ever Demo Day, entrepreneurs pitched their ideas to the president of the United States.

President Obama with Demo Day entrepreneurs.  Photos/CD Brown.
The event brought together minority and women-owned businesses, a demographic that often faces more barriers receiving funding.

A study revealed that fewer than 3 percent of venture capital-backed companies have a woman as their CEO, while yet another study revealed that fewer than 1 percent have an African American founder. 

"We’ve got to make sure that everybody is getting a fair shot", said President Obama, "not leave more than half the team on the bench."

The president has received commitments from nearly 50 businesses to help level the playing field for minority and women-owned business.  

The administration has also worked with the Small Business Administration in its Startup In A Day campaign to help entrepreneurs with registering and applying for business permits and licenses.

A few businesses on hand during Demo Day included PartPicSword and Plough, and Cocoon Cam.

Demo  Day fast facts:  

§  Announcing 116 winners of two Small Business Administration prizes that promise to unleash entrepreneurship in communities across the country: the Growth Accelerator Fund for startup accelerators, incubators, and other entrepreneurial ecosystems; and the President’s “Startup in a Day” initiative that will empower mayors to cut red tape for local entrepreneurs.
§  Scaling up the National Science Foundation I-Corps program with eight new and expanded Federal agency partnerships, introducing hundreds of entrepreneurial scientist teams across the country to a rigorous process for moving their discoveries out of the lab and into the marketplace.
The independent commitments being announced today include, among others:
§  Expanding the response to the President’s TechHire initiative with 10 new cities and states working with employer partners on new ways to recruit and place applicants based on their skills, create more accelerated tech training opportunities, and invest in innovative placement programs to connect trained workers with entrepreneurial opportunities and well-paying jobs.
§  Over 40 leading venture capital firms with over $100 billion under management, including Andreessen Horowitz, Intel Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, and Scale Venture Partners, committing to specific actions that advance opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
§  Institutional investors committing over $11 billion to emerging managers, including CalPERS and the New York City Pension Funds.
§  Over 100 engineering deans committing to attract and retain a diverse student body, building the pipeline for the next generation of American engineers and entrepreneurs.
§  Over a dozen major technology companies announcing new actions to ensure diverse recruitment and hiring, including Amazon, Box, Microsoft, Xerox, and others committing to adopt variations on the “Rooney Rule” to consider diverse candidates for senior executive positions.
For more Demo Day info click here.

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