Report from National Entrepreneurs’ Day Event

I just got back from an “Entrepreneurs’ Town Hall”—part of a nationwide celebration of the first-ever National Entrepreneurs’ Day, proclaimed this week by President Obama—at which U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra joined AOL Co-founder Steve Case for a freewheeling discussion with about 70 entrepreneurs from the DC area, representing a diverse range of company sizes and sectors.

We packed ourselves into the conference room of local startup HelloWallet—they were kind enough to temporarily move their requisite foosball table. Some highlights:

  • Steve Case (who in addition to having co-founded AOL is co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship) proved himself to be a sensible leader by delivering this simple directive to the group:  This is a bunch of entrepreneurs, not corporate suits—everyone, take off your jacket!
  • Aneesh Chopra pointed out a range of government-sponsored prizes available to innovative startups.
  • Michael Beirne (Voice of Entrepreneurs) spoke about how important a group of citizen-entrepreneurs proved in making sure that the recent financial regulation reform bill did not severely restrict access to angel capital.
  • Phil Weiser (National Economic Council) reaffirmed the Obama Administration's commitment to a permanent R&D tax credit and an open Internet, both critical to the success of innovative companies.
  • Esther Lee (Dept. of Commerce) fielded a fascinating and impassioned suggestion that the Federal government assist Web startups (and not just typical export-oriented companies) in expanding their customer base internationally.
  • Sean Greene (Small Business Administration) reiterated a strong commitment to making existing government resources for startups more apparent and accessible nationwide.
  • Catharine McNally (Keen Guides) made the case for increased engagement by entrepreneurs with disabled communities, and Chopra followed up by highlighting the increasing availability of open-source accessibility info.

We’ll be posting video as soon as possible.  In the meantime, many thanks to HelloWallet, Global Entrepreneurship Week, the Kauffman Foundation, the Case Foundation, and everyone else who helped make today’s celebratory event a success—including the entrepreneurs who petitioned the President to create this day in the first place!

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