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Startup America: Reducing Barriers Roundtables

The SBA released feedback from a 1000+ entrepreneurs in the Startup America: Reducing Barriers report to highlight ways we can make government work better, such as making federal programs and processes more entrepreneur-friendly. Karen Mills, the SBA Administrator, commented on its release on the SBA blog and a fact sheet has also been posted.

Senior Obama administration officials visited eight cities as part of the administration’s Startup America initiative, to meet with entrepreneurs and hear directly from them about what processes and regulations we need to change and improve to build a more supportive environment for entrepreneurship and innovation. As President Obama has made clear, support for startups and entrepreneurs will be part what it takes to grow America’s economy and win the future.

Reducing Barriers to Entrepreneurship Process: describes the process that the Obama Administration undertook to solicit ideas about the barriers to entrepreneurship and the plans for reducing those barriers. Step 1, Engage: Entrepreneurs from across the country, in person and online, proposed solutions to the barriers to entrepreneurship. Step 2, Analyze: Entrepreneurs provided ideas improvement in what government regulates--people, money, ideas, and customers--as well as how the government works. Step 3, Act: Reducing barriers to entrepreneurship will require action from the Administration, Congress, and the private sector.
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We joined with the White House and other governmental agencies and went around the country asking entrepreneurs for proposed solutions to their greatest challenges. Here is what we heard:

PEOPLE: Improve high-skilled immigration policy; Invest early/often in skills & entrepreneurship; Defer student loan repayment for entrepreneurs; Reduce cost and 'friction' for startup hiring; Expand access to mentoring in underserved areas. MONEY: Incent investing in and launching startups through tax policies; Unlock lending for startups and young companies; Catalyze early stage venture funding; Enable alternative platforms for investment. IDEAS: Reauthorize and streamline SBIR; Accelerate tech transfer; Streamline patent processing; Spur easier sale or licensing of uncommercialized patents. CUSTOMERS: Make Government Contracting more accessible to startups; Streamline existing programs; Enhance exporting opportunities. 'LEAN' GOVERNMENT: Ease navigation; Simplify processes; 'Right-size' regulations; Speed operations; Increase 'Customer' focus/feedback; Reduce uncertainty.

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We've heard your feedback and taken action. Take a look at all that has been accomplished:
PEOPLE: Administrative improvements to immigration visa categories; Ramp up STEM initiatives and 'Educate to Innovate'; More favorable Income-Based Repayment terms ; Increased access to mentoring programs and accelerators. MONEY: Record year for SBA capital programs - investment capital and lending programs; Licensed first Impact Investment Fund in Michigan; Published proposed rules for Early Stage Innovation Fund ; Champion various capital formation initiatives. IDEAS: Reauthorized SBIR and STTR programs; 135 universities commit to facilitate increased technology commercialization; America Invents Act reforms patent system; Department of Energy helps startups move innovation to the marketplace. CUSTOMERS: 'QuickPay' cuts payment down from 30 days to 15 days; National Export Initiative ahead of schedule; SelectUSA increases business investment in US; Challenges and prizes offer alternative procurement opportunities. HOW GOVERNMENT WORKS: Streamlined government portals launched ; Entrepreneur-In-Residence program at Food and Drug Administration; Greater transparency and decreased timelines across various programs.

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Using the input from the roundtables and broader public participation, the Administration put together a list of the best ideas to streamline and simplify unnecessary barriers to America’s entrepreneurs and innovators. These ideas will be incorporated into the agencies’ responses to the President’s Executive Order instructing federal agencies to identify and take steps to eliminate or reduce regulations that are outdated or overly burdensome to entrepreneurs. Additionally, these ideas were consolidated and analyzed in a report to the President.

Resources

SBA’s Office of Ombudsman helps small businesses when they experience unfair regulatory enforcement. Small business owners can file a complaint with the Office of Ombudsman, which will follow-up with the regulatory agency and work to resolve the matter.

SBA’s Office of Advocacy is an independent voice for small business within the federal government and is the watchdog for the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). Advocacy advances the views and concerns of small business before Congress, the White House, the federal agencies, the federal courts and state policy makers.