The Obama administration is launching what President Barack Obama calls "a historic partnership with business leaders, investors, universities, foundations, and non-profits" to foster new businesses and the entrepreneurs who start them.
The White House defined "Startup America" as a national campaign to spur private sector investment in startups and small firms, accelerate research, and knock down barriers to success. "Everybody deserves at least one chance to change the world," Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said Monday in announcing the administration initiative and a private-sector "Startup America Partnership
" led by AOL co-founder Steve Case, chairman of the Case Foundation.
Obama's political and economic goals are both advanced by the new program. He has been making overtures to the business community since the election, such as naming former Commerce secretary Bill Daley as his chief of staff and General Electric chairman Jeffrey Immelt as head of the new President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Last week Obama centered his State of the Union speech on the need to "out-innovate" and out-compete the rest of the world.
A White House fact sheet
on Startup America said it would "celebrate and honor entrepreneurship as a core American value and source of competitive advantage." More concretely, it is a grab-bag of incentives and initiatives that range from mentoring programs to tax breaks, from streamlining the patent process to matching researchers with entrepreneurs who can turn the research into a marketable product.
Specifically, Obama will propose in his upcoming budget that capital gains taxes on key investments in small businesses be permanently eliminated (part of the 2009 stimulus bill that has been temporarily extended) and that the New Markets tax credit be expanded to encourage startups in lower-income communities. Likewise, the Small Business Administration will focus resources on startups and small firms in under served communities. The SBA will also put up $2 billion over five years to match private sector investment in promising companies.
Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, said the private sector already has committed more than $400 million for the program. SBA administrator Karen Mills said entrepreneurs will be able to offer direct input online and at eight regional roundtables about how government can create a "supportive environment" for them. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Case and others also attended the launch.
As they spoke, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce e-mailed a press release announcing a $1 million expansion
of its K-12, college, and post-graduate entrepreneurship education programs. The chamber said the money will bolster the private sector component of the administration's new Startup America initiative.
It is the second Obama initiative in a week that received a warm welcome from the chamber. Last week the business group issued a joint statement with the AFL-CIO
in support of Obama's call in his State of the Union address to upgrade and expand the nation's roads, bridges, railroads, energy systems, high-speed Internet and other infrastructure.
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Tagged: Austan Goolsbee
, Barack Obama
, Gary Locke
, Gene Sperling
, Karen Mills
, Startup America
, Startup America Partnership
, Steve Case
, Steven Chu