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About Startup America.

Article / Review by on January 31, 2012 – 10:22 pmNo Comments

About Startup America. A White House initiative.

Startup America is a White House initiative that was launched to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation.

“Entrepreneurs embody the promise of America: the idea 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.”


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 will build the new industries of the 21st century, and solve some of our toughest global challenges.

In January 2011, President Obama called on both the federal government and the private sector to dramatically increase the prevalence and success of entrepreneurs across the country.

In the year since launch, the Obama Administration rolled out a set of entrepreneur-focused policy initiatives in five areas:

  1. Unlocking access to capital to fuel startup growth
  2. Connecting mentors and education to entrepreneurs
  3. Reducing barriers and making government work for entrepreneurs
  4. Accelerating innovation from “lab to market” for breakthrough technologies
  5. Unleashing market opportunities in industries like healthcare, clean energy, and education

Leaders in the private sector 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. Within just one year, the Partnership has mobilized to make over $1 billion in business services available to a national network that will serve as many as 100,000 startups over the next three years. Startup America logo id

Startup America: Advice For Young Entrepreneurs

Board members from the Startup America Partnership discuss what’s in it for entrepreneurs across the country.

Ask The Board: What Can Startup America Do For Me?

Board members from the Startup America Partnership discuss what’s in it for entrepreneurs across the country Startup America logo id

> Startup America. Progress Report.

The Obama Administration is taking concrete action to improve the environment for high-growth entrepreneurship across the country, in five key areas:

  1. Unlocking access to capital to fuel startup growth
  2. Connecting mentors and education to entrepreneurs
  3. Reducing barriers and making government work for entrepreneurs
  4. Accelerating innovation from “lab to market” for breakthrough technologies
  5. Unleashing market opportunities in industries like healthcare, clean energy, and education Startup America logo id
> Startup America. Commitments.

The Obama Administration is taking concrete actions to improve the environment for high-growth entrepreneurship, in five key areas:

  1. Unlocking Access to Capital
  2. Connecting Mentors
  3. Reducing Barriers
  4. Accelerating Innovation
  5. Unleashing Market Opportunities
> Startup America. Commitments. Administration Commitments.

Expanding Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs

SBA Launching Two $1 Billion Initiatives for Impact Investing and Early-Stage Seed Financing
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will commit up to $2 billion as a match to private sector investment over the next five years in promising high-growth companies.  Using existing authority, at no new cost to taxpayers, and the operating infrastructure of the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program, SBA-guaranteed bonds will match capital raised by licensed privately-owned and managed investment funds, and provide long-term patient capital to accelerate high-growth firms.

  • $1 Billion Impact Investment Funds:  SBA will commit $1 billion to funds that target areas of national priority, including underserved markets and emerging sectors such as clean energy and education. The program will focus on funds interested in generating not only financial returns but also “social” returns.  Impact Investment SBICs must invest fifty percent of their total capital in impact investments, defined as place-based or sector-based investments.  SBA will provide up to a 2:1 match to private capital raised by these funds, partnering with private investors to target impact investments.  Learn more. (Status: SBA licensed the first Impact Investment Fund in Michigan, providing up to $130 million in capital to high-growth businesses.)
  • $1 Billion Early-Stage Innovation Funds: Early-stage companies face difficult challenges accessing capital, particularly those without the necessary assets or cash flow for traditional bank funding.  For high-growth companies, the gap is particularly acute in the so called “Valley of Death” for financing rounds between $1-4 million. Over the past 4 years only 6% of all venture capital has been deployed in that stage, with 70% of the financings going to only three states – California, Massachusetts and New York. The Early-Stage Innovation Funds will target this gap, providing a 1:1 match to private capital raised by early stage seed funds. Learn more. (Status: Launched.)

President Calls on Congress to Unlock More Startup Capital

Addressing Congress in September 2011, the President pledged to cut away the red tape that prevents too many rapidly growing startup companies from raising capital and going public.  The President’s Startup America Legislative Agenda includes responsible bipartisan measures to facilitate access to capital for startups, including creating an “IPO on-ramp” for emerging growth companies, raising the cap on “mini-offerings,” and enabling small-dollar investments through crowdfunding. Learn more

Administration Proposes Permanent Elimination of the Capital Gains Tax on Certain Small Business Stock

The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 provides a 100-percent exclusion from tax for capital gains realized on the sale of certain small business stock held for more than five years.  The amount of gain eligible for the exclusion is limited to the greater of $10 million or ten times the taxpayer’s basis in the stock. This provision applies to qualified small business stock issued after December 31, 2010, and before January 1, 2012.  The Administration’s FY13 budget proposal would make this provision permanent, increasing private sector investment in small businesses. Learn more.

Status: Awaiting Congressional action.

Treasury Department Simplifies Rules for Tax Credits for Private Investment in Lower-Income Communities

The Treasury Department has published a set of proposed regulatory reforms to the existing New Markets Tax Credit.  These reforms will make it easier for community development entities to attract private-sector funds for investment in startups and small businesses operating in lower-income communities. The reforms would relax the reinvestment requirements for community development entities investing in certain operating businesses. Learn more.

Status: The proposed rules have been published.

Treasury Dept. Convenes Access to Capital Conference for Entrepreneurs

The Treasury Department hosted a March 2011 conference on “Access to Capital: Fostering Growth and Innovation for Small Companies.”  The conference brought together policymakers, entrepreneurs, investors, academics, and other market participants to explore how both the public and private sectors can help promote access to capital at each stage of growth for a small company – from seed capital, to growth equity, to accessing the public markets.  Learn more.

Status:  Conference complete; ideas under consideration.

Connecting Mentors and Entrepreneurs.

SBA, Department of Energy, and ARPA-E Launch Mentorship Program for Clean Energy Startups

The SBA, in partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE) and Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), launched the Entrepreneurial Mentor Corps program in February 2011. This program funds four competitively selected clean energy business accelerators — Clean Energy Trust, CleanTECH San Diego, Cleantech Open, and the Nevada Institute for Renewable Energy Commercialization — which together match experienced mentors to 100 clean energy companies around the country.  These mentors accelerate a startup company’s success by providing targeted advice on revenue growth, employee growth, avoiding pitfalls, and obtaining financing. Learn more.

Status: Launched.

Department of Veterans Affairs Launches New Incubators to Help Vets Start High-Growth Businesses

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has established two of the first integrated business accelerators focused solely on helping our Veterans launch and sustain their own businesses.  The first accelerator program is a brick-and-mortar facility in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Veteran Entrepreneurial Transfer (VETransfer) is a non-profit business incubator providing physical office space and shared services to help Veteran-owned businesses get off the ground.  The second program is a virtual, online business accelerator focused initially on Veteran entrepreneurs in Roanoke, Virginia and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The VetSuccess Employment Accelerator (VetSEA) will provide a suite of online tools and resources that assist Veterans in all phases of the entrepreneurial process, from assessing their skills readiness to developing a business plan to launching and building a new company. Learn more.

Status: Launched.

National Science Foundation Launches Center for Teaching Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Engineering

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $10 million grant over five years to launch a national center for teaching innovation and entrepreneurship at the nearly 350 engineering schools throughout the U.S.  Directed by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP) at Stanford University’s School of Engineering, in partnership with the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), the center will serve as an education, research and outreach hub, inspiring the nation’s undergraduate engineering students to develop innovative products and services for lasting economic and societal impact. Learn more.

Status:  Launched.

Department of Energy Funds Clean Energy Business Competitions for Students Nationwide

To support and empower the next generation of American clean energy entrepreneurs, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced $2 million in funding for the National University Clean Energy Business Challenge.  This nationwide initiative will create a network of regional student-focused clean energy business creation competitions whose winners will compete for a National Grand Prize at a completion held at the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. in early summer 2012. The funding will support  up to six regional competitions that will inspire, mentor, and train students from across the country to develop successful business plans to create a new generation of American clean energy companies. Learn more.

Status: Launched.

Administration Commits to Advance Entrepreneurship Education

The Departments of Education and Labor are advancing a youth entrepreneurship agenda that infuses entrepreneurship education into a range of existing programs involving K-12 education, career and technical education, community colleges, universities, and low-income youth.  As part of this effort, the Department of Education is launching a new National Education Startup Challenge, inviting middle school, high school, and college students to develop an innovative solution to an education problem and prepare a business plan for a new company or non-profit organization to deliver that solution.Learn more.

Status: Ongoing.

Reducing Barriers and Making Government Work for Entrepreneurs.

Department of Homeland Security Announces New Initiatives for Immigrant Entrepreneurs

The White House has released a Blueprint for Building a 21st Century Immigration System, including President Obama’s support for legislative measures that would attract and retain immigrant entrepreneurs seeking to create jobs here in the U.S., such as the Startup Visa Act, strengthening the H-1B program, and “stapling” green cards to the diplomas of foreign-born science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) graduates, as part of comprehensive reform.  At the same time, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has outlined a series of policy, operational, and outreach efforts to realize the potential of current immigration laws to attract the best and brightest from around the world to grow the U.S. economy and create American jobs.

  • Clarifying Entrepreneurs’ Eligibility for the EB-2 National Interest Waiver Program.  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released new materials that clarify the standard for entrepreneurs of “exceptional ability” and those who qualify for a national interest waiver (NIW), which streamlines the application process for an EB-2 green card and allows entrepreneurs to self-petition.  USCIS will couple these public materials with internal training on the unique characteristics of startup companies.  Learn more.
  • Clarifying Entrepreneurs’ Eligibility for H-1B Visas.  Companies obtaining H-1B visas for high-skilled employees must demonstrate an employer-employee relationship.  USCIS has updated its public materials to provide clarity on the H-1B eligibility of entrepreneurs with an ownership stake in their own companies, including sole employees, who may be able to establish the necessary employer-employee relationship. Learn more.
  • Reinventing the EB-5 Investor Visa Program.  The EB-5 program allows immigrant investors to put their own capital to work creating jobs and opportunities for U.S. workers.  USCIS is reinventing the program by (1) adding premium processing for certain EB-5 petitions, (2) implementing direct lines of communication between petitioners and USCIS adjudication teams, and (3) providing petitioners with the opportunity for an interview before a USCIS panel of experts to resolve outstanding issues.  Learn more.
  • Expanding the Premium Processing Program.  To assist employers in quickly obtaining high-skilled employees, USCIS will expand the existing premium processing service to new visa categories, including the EB-5 for investor-entrepreneurs (see above), and the EB-1 for multinational executives and managers.  Premium processing enables employers to obtain expedited processing of their petitions within 15 calendar days, for an additional fee of $1,225. Learn more.
  • Engaging Entrepreneurs to Streamline the Visa Process.  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is launching an “Entrepreneurs in Residence” (EIR) initiative to fully realize the job-creating potential of current immigration law, beginning with policies and practices related to immigrant entrepreneurs.  Informed by summits with industry leaders to gather high-level strategic input, the agency will bring in a tactical team comprised of entrepreneurs and experts, working with USCIS personnel, to design and implement effective solutions at the policy, training, and officer level.  Learn more.
  • Embracing More of the World’s Best and Brightest Science and Technology Graduates.  The Department of Homeland Security has published an expanded list of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degree programs that immediately qualify eligible graduates on student visas for an Optional Practical Training (OPT) extension—an important step forward in expanding the nation’s pool of talented high-skilled graduates and potential entrepreneurs in science and technology fields.  By expanding the list of STEM degrees to include such fields as Neuroscience, Medical Informatics, Pharmaceutics and Drug Design, Mathematics and Computer Science, more highly skilled foreign graduates will have an extra 17 months to remain in the U.S. to pursue work training in their field of study, beyond the initial 12 months available to all graduates. Learn more.
  • Redoubling Efforts to Attract Entrepreneurs and Innovators. DHS announced several measures they will implement to streamline existing pathways for immigrant entrepreneurs, retain more foreign-born science and technology graduates from U.S. universities, facilitate immigration by top researchers, and help U.S. startups and other companies compete for global talent. Learn more

Top Administration Leaders Go on National Tour to Support Public Participation in Removing Barriers to Entrepreneurship

The President issued an Executive Order to federal agencies to identify and take steps to eliminate or reduce processes that are outdated or overly burdensome to entrepreneurs.  As part of this effort to receive feedback from entrepreneurs on the front lines, the Administration launched online suggestion tools for the public and went on the road for “Startup America: Reducing Barriers” roundtables in Durham, Boston, MinneapolisAustinAtlanta, PittsburghBoulder, and Silicon Valley to hear from entrepreneurs about the challenges they face, share current Administration efforts to support entrepreneurship, and to streamline or eliminate the biggest barriers to startup growth. Learn more.

Status: Roundtables complete; entrepreneur feedback under consideration by relevant federal agencies.

White House Convenes Urban Entrepreneurship Forums Across the Country

Recognizing the critical role of entrepreneurship in creating jobs and economic opportunity within America’s cities, the White House Business Council is convening a series of urban entrepreneurship forums in cities across the country, connecting local entrepreneurs to the public and private resources and networks that can help them grow and succeed.  The series kicked off in Newark, New Jersey in June 2011, and has been to New OrleansAtlanta, and New York City.  Other planned stops include Orlando, Philadelphia and Oakland, with more locations to be added throughout 2012.

Status: Ongoing.

White House Engages Young Entrepreneurs

As part of President Obama’s focus on job growth for America’s young people, the White House Business Council is convening a series of conversations across the country with young entrepreneurs in collaboration with the U.S. Small Business Administration and local partners.  The first convening, held in New York Cityin May 2011, gathered 300 youth advocates and entrepreneurs to discuss creative thinking and best practices for starting a business and creating jobs for young Americans.  In July 2011, top officials met with 150 youth entrepreneurs at the White House, gathering feedback on how the Administration can best support their growth and success.  Later in the year, the Young Entrepreneur Series convened military veterans in San Diego, California; rural entrepreneurs in Ames, Iowa; minority entrepreneurs in Charlotte, North Carolina; Native American entrepreneurs in Tahlequah, Oklahoma; and more young entrepreneurs in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Status: Ongoing.

Reducing Student Loan Burdens for Young Entrepreneurs

President Obama has announced new executive actions to make it easier for Americans to manage student loan debt, including a “Pay As You Earn” proposal to let upcoming graduates cap their monthly federal loan payments at 10% of their income, with any remaining debt balance forgiven after 20 years.   Entrepreneurs with student loans can already take advantage of the Administration’s income-based repayment (IBR) plan, limiting loan payments to 15% of their income and forgiving all remaining debt after 25 years.  To spread awareness of this program, the U.S. Small Business Administration has launched a new website walking young entrepreneurs through the process of reducing their monthly student loan payments, and the U.S. Department of Education has committed to developing new guidance for borrowers to facilitate young entrepreneurs’ use of this program.  Learn more.

Status: Ongoing.

SBA Launches One-Stop Website for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Funding Opportunities

Through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, the federal government provides $2.5 billion in annual seed-stage funding for small businesses meeting national research needs.  The U.S. Small Business Administration has reinvented the website with new features allowing these innovative companies to navigate opportunities across eleven federal agencies.  Entrepreneurs can now benefit from search across all open solicitation topics, search of past awards, transparent reporting of agencies’ annual performance, a unified calendar of events across all agencies, and guided walk-throughs for various constituents.  Learn more.

Status: Launched.

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) Plans to Increase Applicant Control Over Examination Timing and Enable Fast-Track Examination Reaching Final Disposition Within 12 Months

The USPTO is pursuing an Enhanced Examination Timing Control Initiative (Three-Track Examination) to give innovators more control over the timing of application processing and support a more efficient market for innovation.  Under this initiative, applicants would be able to request prioritized examination for a fee (Track I), obtain processing under the current procedure (Track II), or request a delay in processing and fees of up to 30 months (Track III). Entrepreneurs who are seeking capital or accelerated market penetration may benefit from the prioritized examination offered by the Track I option.  In contrast, entrepreneurs wishing to test the market before committing further resources may prefer the extended timeframe associated with Track III.  Three-Track will help all entrepreneurs by creating shorter overall examination queues.  Learn more.

Status: “Track I” launched.

U.S. General Services Administration Launches “Business Breakthrough” Program

To help foster continued business opportunities, GSA created Business Breakthrough — a program to help businesses better understand the intricacies of the Federal marketplace and GSA’s contracting vehicles and take advantage of opportunities for growth. GSA’s Business Breakthrough will offer companies a robust workshop agenda full of up-to-date information on how to successfully navigate government contracting. Representatives from GSA and industry will provide information and guidance including real-world case studies from across industries. Learn more, or find a Business Breakthrough session near you.

Status: Ongoing.

SBA Launches Apps for Entrepreneurs Challenge

Entrepreneurs and small businesses need better tools to navigate the Federal government’s vast resources – including programs, services, and procurement opportunities.  Apps for Entrepreneurs challenges programmers to develop these tools using open government data, with $20,000 in prizes. Learn more.

Status: Launched.

Accelerating Innovation from Lab to Market.

President Obama Directs Federal Agencies to Speed Up Research Breakthroughs

Breakthroughs in science and engineering create foundations for new industries, new companies, and new jobs. A new Presidential Memorandum directs all federal agencies with research facilities to accelerate the transfer of innovations from the laboratory to the commercial marketplace, making more efficient use of the approximately $147 billion a year that the federal government invests in research and development.  This directive streamlines private-public research partnerships, accelerates small business research and development grants by 50%, and provides more flexibility for regional innovation clusters.  Learn more.

Status: Launched.

National Science Foundation Launches Innovation Corps

Fostering a national innovation ecosystem that couples scientific discovery with technology development and societal needs, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has established the NSF Innovation Corps, a public-private partnership that will connect NSF-funded scientific research with the technological, entrepreneurial and business communities.  Technology developers, business leaders, venture capitalists, and others from private industry will act as I-Corps mentors, enhancing the ability of primary researchers to transform their scientific and engineering results into successful, fundable technologies.  In partnership with the Deshpande Foundation and the Kauffman Foundation, NSF I-Corps will initially support up to100 projects per year, at $50,000 per project.  Learn more.

Status: Launched.

National Science Foundation Announces “Accelerating Innovation Research” Awards

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has invested $9.2 million to turn science and engineering research into commercially viable products and services. Through the Accelerating Innovation Research (AIR) program, academic researchers and their students develop proofs of concept to successfully launch their innovations into the marketplace.  Successful projects will attract follow-on investments from the private sector.  Learn more.

Status: Ongoing.

Department of Energy Funds Innovation Ecosystems

DOE’s Innovation Ecosystems Initiative is funding 5 “innovation ecosystems” that accelerate the movement of cutting-edge energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies from university laboratories into the market. Located in five distinct geographic regions across the United States, the university- and nonprofit-led Innovation Ecosystems unite the strengths of experts in universities, business, finance, government, research institutes, and economic development organizations. These consortia provide clean energy technology innovators and entrepreneurs with services in intellectual property protection and business mentoring, as well as opportunities to compete for venture capital and other financial investment partnerships. The five ecosystems are University of Central Florida, University of Utah, Clean Energy Trust, Fraunhofer, and University of California – San Diego.  Learn more.

Status: Ongoing.

Department of Energy Launches “America’s Next Top Energy Innovator” Challenge

Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced a new program called “America’s Next Top Energy Innovator” to reduce the cost and paperwork for startup companies to license the Department of Energy’s 15,000 unlicensed patents, and start bringing more of these new energy technologies to the U.S. marketplace.  Entrepreneurs can apply for any of these patents by submitting a business plan for how they propose to use them.  A portfolio of up to three patents will cost an upfront fee of just $1,000, yielding a total savings of between $10,000 and $50,000. Learn more, or browse new technologies.

Status: Ongoing.

National Institutes of Health Speeds up Licensing Agreements for Biomedical Startups

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Technology Transfer has developed new agreements for start-up companies obtain licenses for early-stage biomedical inventions developed by intramural researchers at NIH or FDA. Companies that are less than 5 years old and have fewer than 50 employees will be eligible to use the new, short-term exclusive Start-Up Evaluation License Agreement and the new Start-Up Commercial License Agreement. These agreements allow a start-up company to take ideas sitting on the shelf, and attract additional investments to develop these NIH and FDA inventions into life-saving products.  Learn more.

Status: Ongoing.

Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) Launches “i6 Green” Challenge for Regional Innovation

EDA’s i6 Green, implemented in partnership with six federal departments and agencies, builds on the success of the inaugural i6 Challenge in 2010.  This program, with anticipated funding up to $12 million, is designed to encourage innovative, ground-breaking ideas that accelerate technology commercialization, new venture formation, and job creation across the United States.  The 2011 “i6 Green” challenge focuses on both regional economic development and environmental sustainability, rewarding communities that utilize Proof of Concept Centers to accelerate technology-led economic development in pursuit of a vibrant, innovative clean economy. These centers will be supported by regional partnerships that draw upon a wide range public, corporate, university, non-profit, and philanthropic stakeholders.  Learn more.

Status: Launched.

Sixteen Federal Agencies Launch “Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge” to Spur High-Growth Clusters

The Department of Commerce, in coordination with sixteen federal agencies, has created the $33 million Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, spurring growth in 20 regions around the country.  High-growth clusters from rural and urban regions across the nation will compete for federal funds to promote robust economic ecosystems and the development of a skilled workforce, both of which are critical to long-term regional success.  These awards will leverage additional private capital from sources including foundations, financial institutions, corporations and other private-sector partners.  Learn more.

Status: Ongoing.

Inventing a New Patent System

The America Invents Actwas passed with President Obama’s strong leadership after nearly a decade of effort to reform the Nation’s outdated patent laws.  It will help companies and inventors avoid costly delays and unnecessary litigation, and let them focus instead on innovation and job creation.  Many key industries in which the United States leads, such as biotechnology, medical devices, telecommunications, the Internet, and advanced manufacturing, depend on a strong and healthy intellectual property system.   The law will give the USPTO the resources to significantly reduce patent application waiting times, building on the great strides the patent office has already made, including reducing its backlog by 75,000 during this Administration even as the number of filings per year has increased.  Learn more.

Status: Ongoing.

USPTO Launches Small Business Innovation Research Pilot Program

The United States Patent and Trademark Office, in collaboration with the National Science Foundation, is piloting a program to provide Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awardees with comprehensive intellectual property support through the agency’s small business programs and resources.  Learn more.

Status: Ongoing.

Manufacturing Extension PartnershipAnnounces New Online Resource to Speed Commercialization of Technologies

In support of the President’s goals for the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, the federal Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) will launch a new searchable, web-based resource to assist manufacturers, tech firms, and entrepreneurs to turn more of their ideas into products and businesses. Integrated into the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) MEP website, the site will enable businesses and entrepreneurs across the country to easily identify and contact more than 2,000 public-private organizations and initiatives designed to assist them. The site will profile more than 900 organizations that offer capital, intensive entrepreneurial support, technical assistance, and access to new markets. Among the users will be NIST MEP’s more than 1,400 technical experts located around the country who are focused on solving manufacturers’ challenges and identifying opportunities for growth. They will use the resource to improve the economic standing of the more than 34,000 manufacturers they work with annually, resulting in new sales and investments. This web resource will bring together in one place information that is currently scattered across the country.

Status: Launching in 2012.

Unleashing Market Opportunities.

Administration Expands Startup America “DC-to-VC” Summits on Health Care, Clean Energy, and Learning Technologies

DC-to-VC summits are targeted engagements between senior Administration officials and entrepreneurs, investors, and students in communities across the country.  The goals of DC-to-VC engagements are to communicate how the President’s policies and priorities are unleashing new market opportunities for entrepreneurs, to inspire more entrepreneurs to pursue these opportunities, and to gain valuable policy feedback from the innovation community.

Status: Ongoing.

  • Health care: The President’s commitment to improve our health care system is creating massive new opportunities for innovators and entrepreneurs.  The Affordable Patient Care Act creates unprecedented incentives for new information technology (IT) platforms that reduce costs, reduce errors, and increase the quality of care.  DC-to-VC:Health Carehas hosted numerous events across the country since 2010, led by the Chief Technology Officer of the Department of Health and Human Services, targeted at innovators in health IT, care delivery, and other technologies.  Learn more.
  • Clean energy: The Administration’s historic $80 billion Recovery Act investment in clean energy research, development, and deployment is accelerating breakthrough technologies and new market opportunities for a safe, clean, and secure domestic energy infrastructure.  Led by the Under Secretary of the Department of Energy, DC-to-VC: Clean Energy launched in March 2011 to identify ways the Administration can help accelerate private sector efforts in this important area.  Learn more.
  • Education: The Administration’s $4.35 billion Race to the Top initiative as well as the $650M Investing in Innovation (i3) Program have helped drive important state and local educational reforms and unleash new market opportunities for learning technologies.  Learning is transitioning from the traditional print-based classroom experience to incorporating a digital learning environment inside and outside the classroom, where new platforms, customized learning, and multimedia content promise to dramatically improve teaching and learning. Led by the Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement and the Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the Department of Education, DC-to-VC: Learning Technologiesis planning a series of events in 2011 and beyond.  Learn more.

Startup America Policy Challenge

In the spirit of open and participatory government, the White House is using online platforms to ask entrepreneurs and the broader public how to accelerate entrepreneurial innovation in three priority industries:  healthcare, clean energy, and education.  Students and other solvers will then compete to translate the best ideas into “Policy Business Plans,” which will be shared with relevant Cabinet Secretaries from the Depts. of Health and Human Services, Energy, and Education.  Learn more.

Status: Launched.

Shrinking Electricity Bills with Open Energy Data

Green Button is the common-sense idea that electricity customers should be able to download their own detailed household or commercial electricity usage data from their utility website.  Entrepreneurs can then build tools to help consumers conserve energy and save money.  Learn more.

Status: Launched

Unlocking the Power of Open Education Data

The Education Data Initiative will harness the power of open data and unleash the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of educators and innovators all over the country.  The Department of Education is allowing students to easily download and share their Federal Student Aid data, and is opening up other data resources to foster new tools for students, parents, and teachers.  Learn more.

Status: Launched

Empowering Consumers with Open Health Data

Blue Button provides a secure way for patients to download their health information and share it with health care providers, caregivers, and others they trust.  Over 80 million Americans who have health insurance or benefits from the Veterans Administration, Medicare, the Department of Defense, and certain private-sector companies now have access to Blue Button, which promises to fuel innovative new products and services to help Americans manage their health.  Learn more.

Status: Launched

Innovation Exchanges Provide National Platform for Health IT Collaboration

Innovation Exchanges are special coordinated forums that match early-stage innovators with adopters of health information technology (IT). The Administration is encouraging these innovators and healthcare organizations to pilot new technologies and host research and development together.  These Innovation Exchanges are happening across the country, including Philadelphia, Indianapolis, San Diego, San Francisco, and Boston. Learn more.

Status: Ongoing


> Startup America. Commitments. Private Sector Commitments.

In response to the President’s call to action to promote high-growth entrepreneurship across the country, leaders in the private sector are making commitments to educate the next generation of entrepreneurs, connect more entrepreneurs with high-quality mentors, foster more collaborations between startups and large companies, and accelerate research breakthroughs from the lab to the marketplace.

  1. Growing Entrepreneurial Ecosystems for the Long Run
  2. Inspiring the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs
  3. Connecting Mentors and Entrepreneurs
  4. Connecting Corporations and Entrepreneurs
  5. Accelerating Innovation

Growing Entrepreneurial Ecosystems for the Long Run

America’s Top Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders Form New Alliance

Launched at the White House in January 2011, the Startup America Partnership is an independent alliance of top entrepreneurs, investors, corporations, universities, foundations, and other leaders, joining together to grow the entrepreneurial ecosystems that support innovative, high-growth U.S. startups.  The Startup America Partnership has already mobilized more than $1 billion in private-sector commitments to provide products, services, mentorship and funding to scale and grow 100,000 U.S. startups over the next three years.  Get started.

Inspiring the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs.

NFT Expands Entreprenurship Education for Underserved Youth

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), a nonprofit that provides a first-class entrepreneurship education for at-risk high school students from low-income communities, is launching new programs supporting young entrepreneurs and their teachers. Ernst & Young LLP will honor NFTE youth entrepreneurs at regional Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award galas across the country, bringing important attention to the next generation of young entrepreneurs. Google is sponsoring two new efforts in NFTE’s Bay Area programs: The Flat Classroom Exchange will allow local educators to team-teach the NFTE program in real time and leverage each teacher’s individual expertise, while the Makers Class project will integrate NFTE’s curriculum with invention and engineering lessons, so that Bay Area students learn the valuable connection between thinking creatively and practically through the process of designing a product and bringing it to market.  New Markets Education Partners is providing NFTE with seed capital to launch in 2011 an interactive, online business planning course and social network connecting mentors, teachers, and students, allowing NFTE to reach countless young people in an accessible and fun way and excite them about entrepreneurship and their education. NFTE and the Pearson Foundation are launching Connect, a free online community for teacher collaboration and training focused on entrepreneurship education, fulfilling a commitment made at the launch of Startup America earlier this year.  The Connectcommunity is open to all educators who want to infuse entrepreneurship education best practices into their classroom, with a goal of at least 5,000 registered educators in the next 24 months.  In addition, SuperCamp/Quantum Learning Network, one of the top academic summer camp providers in America, is partnering with NFTE to making its BizCamps widely available to young people across the country. Learn more.

Blackstone Foundation Expands Scale-up of LaunchPad Entrepreneurship Centers to More Universities

Continuing to fulfill its $50 million five-year commitment to foster entrepreneurship, the Blackstone Foundation announces a five-region expansion of Blackstone LaunchPad, a program that makes entrepreneurship a viable career path for college and graduate students as well as alumni.  Created at the University of Miami, LaunchPad is fully integrated into a college’s career center, providing concrete tools and guidance by experienced venture coaches to help aspiring entrepreneurs university-wide transform untested ideas into vital businesses that lead to economic revitalization.  Having already established new LaunchPads in Detroit and Northeast Ohio, the Blackstone Foundation will continue to expand the model to other economically distressed areas. Learn more.

Junior Achievement Announces Entrepreneurial Reinvention

Junior Achievement, the nation’s oldest and largest youth entrepreneurship program, is announcing a historic reinvention of its century-old JA Company Program to be more contemporary and relevant to today’s dynamic entrepreneurial landscape.  Supported by global technology leader Emerson, this program is designed to reach at least 50,000 students over the next five years.

Over 100 Community College Presidents Commit to Entrepreneurial Transformation

The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) is launching the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum, through which community college presidents make specific commitments to advance entrepreneurship and the impact these colleges have on the economic well-being of their communities.  Over 100 community college presidents have signed on at launch, with the goal of at least 600 by the end of 2012, comprising around half of all community colleges in the U.S.

Young Entrepreneur Council Announces New “Gen Y Fund”

In response to the President’s call to action to promote high-growth entrepreneurship across the country, the Young Entrepreneur Council’s new private-sector Gen Y Fund has committed to investing $10 million in as many as 100 Millennial-generation startups, including a promise to pay down any of these young entrepreneurs’ remaining federal student loan obligations over the next three years. Learn more.

Marc Ecko Launches “Artists & Instigators Practicum” to Activate Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

Marc Ecko, an entrepreneur and leader in the fashion and media industry, will launch the first Artists & Instigators (A&I) Practicum at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia.  A&I Practicum’s virtual entrepreneurship curriculum teaches practical skills for the 21st century by preparing next generation of entrepreneurs to be “first in line for the hire.”  Participating students will build real-world marketing, design, social media, and research skills in startups that are creating the jobs of the future.  Over the next five years, A&I Practicum will invest in 750 startups, offer over 20,000 virtual internships, and provide access to its entrepreneurial curriculum at high schools, community colleges, universities and veteran job retraining programs. Learn more.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Expands Programs for Young Entrepreneurs

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Campaign for Free Enterprise and the National Chamber Foundation will invest more than $1M in K-12, college, and post-graduate entrepreneurial education this year by forming new partnerships with Students in Free Enterprise and the Kairos Society and expanding existing partnerships with Junior Achievement and the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour. Learn more.

Mott Foundation Announces Virtual Incubation Network for America’s Community Colleges

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation will fund an initiative that will create a Virtual Incubation Network at America’s community colleges and led by The American Association of Community Colleges, in partnership with National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship. Virtual incubator models will be tested at ten community college locations in the country.  To increase the capacity of the community college to service their startup business community, sites will participate in learning and implementing best practices, demonstrating ways for mature business leaders and emerging small business entrepreneurs to forge productive, symbiotic relationships that stimulate the growth of new local businesses, including areas with significant economic challenges.  Practices will be captured and shared to encourage broad implementation across the community college network and in collaboration with other partners. Learn more on NACCE website.  Learn more on AACC website.

Connecting Mentors and Entrepreneurs.

TechStars Network Will Accelerate Success of Startups Across AmericaThe new TechStars Network launches with 15 independently owned and operated regional organizations that replicate the model pioneered by TechStars, a successful mentorship-driven startup accelerator operating in New York City, Boston, Seattle, and Boulder.  The TechStars Network provides opportunities for networking, sharing best practices, training and ongoing support for members of this regionally diverse network, and includes members from Miami to Seattle and from Nashville to New Orleans.  Over the next three years, the TechStars Network will ensure that 5,000 successful and experienced entrepreneurs and investors will mentor and support 6,000 promising young entrepreneurs, increasing their success rate tenfold and creating 25,000 new jobs by 2015. Learn more.

MassChallenge $1M Startup Competition and Accelerator to Expand Support for Nation’s Highest-Growth Startups

New support from The Blackstone Charitable Foundation, the Fallon Management Company, MassMutual, Johnson & Johnson’s Corporate Office of Science & Technology (COSAT), and Microsoft will enable MassChallenge to support over 1,000 entrepreneurs directly in 2011, providing a platform for significant national expansion in 2012 and beyond.  MassChallenge runs a $1M annual startup competition and accelerator to catalyze the launch and success of high-growth, high-impact new businesses. The competition is open to anyone in the world, with any new startup, in any industry.  Every entrant receives training, feedback, PR and networking support via expert volunteers from partner organizations, and the highest-potential startups receive 3 months of intensive mentorship and free services, including premium office space in Boston’s Innovation District, an ambitious initiative that is one of Mayor Tom Menino’s top priorities. Learn more.

Astia Community Expands Support for Women-Led, High-Growth Startups Across America

New commitments from AOL, The Althea Foundation, Fenwick & West, Moss Adams LLP and Silicon Valley Bank, matching prior funding from the Kauffman Foundation, will allow Astia to support twice as many women entrepreneurs.  Astia connects women-led startups to investors, industry leaders, advisors, and service providers, encircling the entrepreneur with a comprehensive value-add network.  Emphasizing companies in high-tech, clean-tech and life sciences, the not-for-profit helps entrepreneurs to hone business skills, access capital, build networks and develop their executive leadership.Learn more.

Rock Health Launches First National Accelerator for Interactive Health Startups

Rock Health, the first seed-stage accelerator for interactive health startups, announces its new five-month incubator program challenging entrepreneurs to address issues in health and wellness through consumer web and mobile technologies. Rock Health will provide early-stage funding, strategic support, mentorship, and office space, bringing together the best minds and talent from the technology, media, gaming and design sectors to enable high-impact healthcare innovation.  Sponsors include Aberdare Ventures, Accel Partners, the California HealthCare Foundation, Fenwick & West, Microsoft, Mohr Davidow Ventures, NEA, Nike and Qualcomm, plus an expansive network of medical advisors led by the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.  Learn more.

SCORE and Wal-Mart Foundation Announce Veteran Fast Launch Initiative

SCORE has created the new Veteran Fast Launch Initiative to help accelerate the ability of veterans and their families to succeed as small business owners.  The new program will be a combined package of services, scholarships and free software (provided by major corporate partners), and SCORE’s mentoring program. Through SCORE’s network of 13,500 volunteer mentors and trainers, Veteran Fast Launch will support 16,000 military veterans and their families and help launch 3,000 new businesses during the first year. The Walmart Foundation is the primary sponsor, and other partners include the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, AVG, Cisco, Constant Contact,, HP,, Microsoft,,, and Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC), which last year reached over 45,000 veterans, service members, and spouses nationally. Learn more.

Connecting Corporations and Entrepreneurs.

Intel Commits $200 Million to Investment in U.S. Startups

Last year, Intel launched the Invest in America Alliance to bring together companies to expand investment in American startups.  This year, to advance the goals of Startup America, Intel Capital will commit $200M of new investment in U.S. companies.  Senior Intel leadership will also serve the Startup America Partnership and share best practices from years of successful programs designed to support Intel portfolio companies. Learn more.

IBM Commits $150 Million to Accelerate U.S. Entrepreneurs

IBM will invest $150 million in 2011 to fund programs that promote entrepreneurs and new business opportunities in the United States. The investment will be used to coach and mentor startup businesses throughout the U.S., expand education, build skills and mentorship programs in collaboration with the academic and venture capital communities, and provide skills and business opportunities to the growing community of software developers who collaborate on emerging technologies. Learn more.

HP Expands Global Program to Support U.S. Entrepreneurs

HP is investing more than $4 million in 2011 in HP Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs (HP LIFE), a global program launched in 2007 that uses educational and technology outreach aimed at helping entrepreneurs and small business owners create and grow commercial opportunities.  HP has supported more than 500,000 entrepreneurs worldwide and is expanding HP LIFE to reach more than 100,000 aspiring entrepreneurs in the U.S., in close partnership with Education Development Center Inc. (EDC), a nonprofit organization. Through HP Startup Central, a collaborative ecosystem, the company is also collaborating with technology incubators, investor communities, and entrepreneur support organizations to further fuel innovation and business growth. Learn more.

Facebook Launches Startup Days to Boost Entrepreneurial Businesses Across the Country

Facebook is itself a six year old startup.  As part of Facebook’s ongoing commitment to encourage entrepreneurs, the company will launch Startup Days, a new series of 12 to 15 events around the country designed to provide entrepreneurs with access to expertise, resources and engineers to help accelerate their businesses.  Startup Days will feature training in new technologies, special guest speakers from Facebook, the investment community and other successful engineers and entrepreneur teams, and networking opportunities with other entrepreneurs, academics and venture capitalists.  These events build on Facebook’s previous efforts to promote and support startups, including Facebook Platform and Developer Garage, which will be expanded in the coming year along with other initiatives to foster entrepreneurship and innovation. Learn more.

Accelerating Innovation.

Deshpande Foundation Will Build New Entrepreneurship Center in New Orleans

In its latest “innovation sandbox” project, comparable to a recent $5 million investment in the cities of Lowell and Lawrence, MA, the Deshpande Foundation will join with The Idea Village and Tulane University to enhance the innovation ecosystem of New Orleans.  These innovation ecosystems will foster large-scale entrepreneurship in these cities, building on the skills and talents of the local community, including local business, higher education and non-profits.

JumpStart America Launched to Accelerate Regional Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

JumpStart Inc., a nationally recognized non-profit venture development organization based in Cleveland, Ohio announces JumpStart America, a new national initiative to build robust public, private and philanthropic partnerships to create or accelerate regionally-based innovation and entrepreneurship programs.  Most importantly, these efforts will accelerate the efforts and economic impact of thousands of new and existing firms across the U.S. and create hundreds of thousands of new private sector jobs in the next four years.  Funders of JumpStart America’s initial work include the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Surdna Foundation, which are supporting a $40 million effort to accelerate regional entrepreneurial ecosystems in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and New York.  Learn more.

National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) Unveils Venture Launch Pathway

NCIIA, in partnership with The Lemelson Foundation, will expand its university entrepreneur-focused grants program, awarding nearly $1 million of grants to entrepreneurs in 23 universities in fourteen states. NCIIA has committed new funds to expand the Myer Memorial Trust’s Venture Launch Pathway at the University of Oregon, enabling significant expansion of its Green Product Design commercialization program. Since 1995, NCIIA has funded more than 370 student teams that have resulted in the launch of 100 companies across the country and an additional $140 million in follow-on capital investment.  NCIIA will provide an additional $10 million to student innovators and entrepreneurs in the next five years.Learn more.

“Innovation Fund America” Announced by American Association of Community Colleges, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and Lorain County Community College

In response to the President’s Startup America call to action, the new Innovation Fund America will marshal philanthropic dollars to provide critical early-stage funding for high-tech entrepreneurs across the country.  The program will be modeled after the successful Innovation Fund founded by Lorain County Community College (Elyria, Ohio), which has awarded $4.3 million to 60 companies, rapidly creating 100 new jobs, attracting $41 million in additional private investment, and sponsoring 130 student entrepreneurship internships.  Leveraging its landmark IRS private letter ruling that makes contributions to the fund tax-deductible, Lorain County Community College will help other community colleges replicate this model as part of the American Association of Community College’s Virtual Incubator Initiative funded by the Mott Foundation. Learn more. Startup America logo id


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*  The above story is adapted from materials provided by  The White House

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