Startup America Initiative: The First 180 Days

Guest Post by Karen Mills and Aneesh Chopra, this post originally appeared on The White House Blog

Six months ago, we joined together at the White House in a room packed full of entrepreneurs, to celebrate the launch of Startup America.  In President Obama’s words, “Startup America [is] 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.” 

Throughout this Administration, we understand that young companies are responsible for virtually all new job growth across the U.S., and we are committed to accelerating entrepreneurial success. 

So what has the Obama Administration accomplished over the past 180 days since launching the Startup America initiative?

  • We said we would drive up to $2 billion in private investment into high-growth companies over the next five years, at no cost to taxpayers.  Just last week, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced the first Impact Investment Fund in Michigan, providing up to $130 million in capital to job-creating businesses throughout the state.
  • We said we would use the tax code to incentivize more private investment in the early-stage companies that need it most.  Now, the President’s budget includes a permanent, 100% exemption from capital gains taxes for investors in small businesses, and we have proposed new rules to simplify tax credits for investment in entrepreneurs revitalizing low-income communities.
  • We said we would connect more entrepreneurs with experienced mentors.  Now, we have launched new mentorship and education opportunities for thousands of cleantech entrepreneursmilitary veterans and undergraduate engineers.
  • We said we would travel the country to get first-hand input from entrepreneurs about how to reduce barriers.  Now, we have completed an eight-city tour and we will soon release a report on the ideas we heard.  We have already taken action to dramatically streamline requirements facing entrepreneurs in cleantech and telemedicine, as top Administration officials continue to hit the road to engage with young entrepreneursurban entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs in healthcarecleantech and learning technology
  • We said we would get more taxpayer-funded research innovations from the lab to the marketplace.  Just last week, the National Science Foundation launched its new Innovation Corps to do just that, while over twenty other agencies – including SBA – have cooperated to fund regional entrepreneurial ecosystems.

This is not a job for government alone.  In response to the President’s call to action to join this effort, the new Startup America Partnership, an independent private-sector alliance, has already mobilized more than $400 million in private-sector commitments to provide products, services, mentorship and funding to scale and grow tens of thousands of U.S. startups over the next three years.

This is just the beginning of an all-hands-on-deck effort to ensure that America remains the greatest place on earth to start and grow a new company.  Tomorrow, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Director Alejandro Mayorkas will join the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness to discuss the critical role of immigration reform in attracting the world’s greatest entrepreneurial talent – watch it live.

Of course, policy pronouncements are one thing – what does all of this mean to actual startups?  Over the next week, the White House blog will highlight how these Startup America policy initiatives have made a difference for real entrepreneurs who are taking bold risks and creating jobs across the country.

Karen Mills is Administrator of the Small Business Administration 

Aneesh Chopra is U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Associate Director for Technology in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.