Startup America: Celebrating One Year of Helping Entrepreneurs Start and Grow Businesses
by Karen Mills, Former SBA Administrator
- Created: January 31, 2012, 12:12 pm
- Updated: April 30, 2012, 6:59 pm
Today marks the one-year anniversary of Startup America, the initiative launched by the White House to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship across America.
Here at SBA, we’ve spent the year helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses and create jobs across the country – creating blueprint for an economy built to last. From launching mentoring programs to a record year of helping entrepreneurs and small business owners access capital through loan programs and Small Business Investment Company program, SBA has worked with the White House and other federal agencies to build a more supportive environment for entrepreneurship and innovation.
Many of the ideas that we’ve put into action came from small business owners themselves. We joined with the White House and other government agencies and went around the country asking entrepreneurs for proposed solutions to their greatest challenges. Our “Startup America: Reducing Barriers” roundtable events allowed us to hear from more than 1,000 small business owners about the problems they were facing. We’ve heard your feedback and taken action. Take a look at all that has been accomplished.
We took these suggestions and are using them to reduce the regulatory burden, improve processes and access to information, and expand mentoring programs for small businesses. Here are some examples of things we are doing right now to help entrepreneurs:
Empowering young entrepreneurs through the Student Startup Plan, by highlighting the improved terms of the income-based repayment program to help keep federal loan payments affordable. Last year, the President proposed a plan to further ease student loan debt payment by lowering the income-based repayment to 10 percent of income, and the forgiveness timeline to 20 years. This change is set to go into effect for all new borrowers after 2014.
Committing up to $1 billion to Impact Investment Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs) over five years, to target emerging sectors identified as national priorities as well as economically disadvantaged areas. We licensed a $130 million InvestMichigan! Mezzanine Fund as the first Impact Investment Fund, and it is currently investing in high-growth businesses throughout Michigan.
Increasing access to mentoring programs across industry sectors and regions. We provided mentoring support to 100 clean energy entrepreneurs through last year’s Entrepreneurial Mentor Corps pilot program, and we partnered with the Veterans Administration to support returning veteran entrepreneurs across the country.
We are excited that the President introduced the Startup America Legislative Agenda today. From issues on capital formation to high-skilled immigration, the Startup America Legislative Agenda provides proposals to create greater opportunities for our country’s ambitious entrepreneurs. This Agenda also includes tax breaks, including doubling the deduction for entrepreneurs’ startup expenses. We know these provisions have important financial implications and can help entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
Leaders in the private-sector are also working on many of these same ideas through the Startup America Partnership, an independent alliance of entrepreneurs, corporations, universities and foundations working to fuel high-growth startup companies. The Startup America Partnership has aggregated over $1 billion in resources and business services that a startup can take advantage of now.
In the first year of the Startup America initiative we’ve made great strides, but we need to continue to create an economy built to last. We can’t wait to make sure America’s entrepreneurs – from those in manufacturing to clean energy and everything in between – have the tools they need. Today’s announcements help keep the wind at small businesses’ back, but through the Startup America Legislative Agenda we can give entrepreneurs even moreresources to grow and create jobs.
Karen Mills is the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Adminstration.
About the Author
Karen Gordon Mills is the Former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA helps both Main Street and high-growth small businesses get access to capital, counseling, federal contracts, disaster assistance and more.
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