Earlier this year, the White House launched an initiative called Startup America to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation. Why? Startups are engines of job creation. Entrepreneurs intent on growing their businesses create the lion’s share of new jobs, in every part of the country and in every industry. And it is entrepreneurs in clean energy, medicine, advanced manufacturing, information technology, and other innovative fields who are expected to build the new industries of the 21st century, and solve some of our Nation’s toughest global challenges.
President Obama has called on both the federal government and the private sector to dramatically increase the prevalence and success of entrepreneurs across the country. First, the Obama Administration is rolling out a set of entrepreneur-focused policy initiatives in five areas:
1. Unlocking Access to Capital
2. Connecting Mentors
3. Reducing Barriers
4. Accelerating Innovation
5. Unleashing Market Opportunities
Second, leaders in the private sector have launched the Startup America Partnership, an independent alliance of entrepreneurs, corporations, universities, foundations, and other leaders, joining together to fuel innovative, high-growth U.S. startups.
What is the Startup America initiative delivering today? For entrepreneurs, a platform has been developed to submit ideas for reducing barriers to entrepreneurship. Next, entrepreneurs will have more control over the speed of patent processing. Then, there is enhanced access to government-patented energy technology, and finally there is mentorship and software for military families through Veteran Fast Launch.
Investors gain, too. First, there are no capital gains taxes on qualified small business investments made throughout 2011. There is also federally guaranteed leverage for private funds that invest in clean energy, education, or underserved markets. Finally, there are streamlined rules for private funds that invest in lower-income communities.
For communities, there is new funding for proof of concept centers that accelerate green technology innovation. There is also nationwide engagement with Administration leaders on major new entrepreneurial opportunities in healthcare, clean energy, and learning technology.
What’s the catch with Startup America? According to an article that appeared in Newsday, Jeremy Wiesen, a retired professor of entrepreneurship at the Stern School of Business at New York University (NYU), states that only groundbreaking ideas with a big effect on the economy and job creation need apply. But he also is quick to point out that although the goal of Startup America is to develop high-impact businesses, it’s easy to see that more mundane enterprises can plug into the online education, mentoring and networking that are being developed.