"After all, innovation is what America has always been about. Most new jobs are created in start-ups and small businesses."
-President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address, 1/24/12
“Startup America” is a White House initiative to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation. This coordinated public/private effort brings together an alliance of the country’s most innovative entrepreneurs, corporations, universities, foundations, and other leaders, working in concert with a wide range of federal agencies to dramatically increase the prevalence and success of America’s entrepreneurs.
This mission to promote entrepreneurship is a core component of President Obama’s national innovation strategy for achieving sustainable growth and quality jobs. The core goals of Startup America are to increase the number and scale of new high-growth firms that are creating economic growth, innovation, and quality jobs; celebrate and honor entrepreneurship as a core American value and source of competitive advantage; and inspire and empower an ever-greater diversity of communities and individuals to build great American companies.
Overall, Startup America, through a full range of public and private initiatives, is aimed at:
Expanding access to capital for high-growth startups throughout the country;
Expanding entrepreneurship education and mentorship programs that empower more Americans not just to get a job, but to create jobs;
Strengthening commercialization of the about $148 billion in annual federally-funded research and development, which can generate innovative startups and entirely new industries;
Identifying and remove unnecessary barriers to high-growth startups; and
Expanding collaborations between large companies and startups.
Leaders in the private-sector are 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.
Senior Obama administration officials will visit 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.
Learn more about the Reducing Barriers Roundtables.
Expanding Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs
SBA to Launch Two $1 Billion Initiatives for Impact Investing and Early-Stage Seed Financing: The Small Business Administration (SBA) will commit $2 billion as a match to private sector investment over the next five years in promising high-growth companies. Using existing authority, with no new cost to taxpayers, and the operating infrastructure of the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program, SBA-guaranteed bonds will match private capital raised by these privately-owned and managed investment funds and serve as a catalyst for accelerating capital support for startups and high-growth firms.
$1 Billion Impact Investment Fund: SBA will commit $1 billion to those funds that invest growth capital in companies located in underserved communities. This will include investing in economically distressed areas as well as those companies in emerging sectors such as clean energy. SBA will provide up to a 2:1 match to private capital raised by these funds, partnering with private investors to target “impact” investments.
$1 Billion Early-Stage Innovation Fund: 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 Innovation Fund will target this gap, providing a 1:1 match to private capital raised by early stage seed funds.
Connecting Mentors and Entrepreneurs
SBA and Department of Energy Launch Mentorship Program for Clean Tech Startups: The SBA, in partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE) and Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), is funding four business accelerators. These four programs have proven records of success and are using the funding to support an additional 100 clean energy entrepreneurs across the country. These accelerators will provide intensive mentorship from seasoned entrepreneurs to a selection of the most promising new companies. This pilot program is the first step in the development of a large, distributed network of entrepreneurs, mentors, and accelerators.
Entrepreneurial Mentor Corps fact sheet
Department of Veterans Affairs Launches New Incubators to Help Vets Start High-Growth Businesses: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), in partnership with SBA and the Department of Labor, will establish two of the first integrated business accelerators focused solely on helping our Veterans launch and sustain their own businesses. The first accelerator program offers an interactive website that provides a comprehensive roadmap of the starting a small business and provides assistance in utilizing the diverse set of resources available to support Veteran entrepreneurs. The second program includes a business incubator facility, located in Waukesha, Wisconsin, where early-stage Veteran-owned businesses are mentored by experienced entrepreneurs and trained to develop the skills needed to build a successful businesses.