Startup America Hits the Road: Talking with Entrepreneurs Across the Country

Startup America is the White House initiative to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the Nation.  Tomorrow, in conjunction with the President’s trip to Facebook, we will engage with entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley to share more exciting news about Startup America – tune in to the panel discussion here.

One core goal of the Startup America initiative is to reduce barriers that are hampering entrepreneurs’ ability to start and scale their businesses. 

The White House, in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, decided the best way to figure out which regulatory barriers are hindering entrepreneurs was to ask those who are directly affected.  Then the entrepreneurs can help identify solutions as well.

That’s why over the past month Senior Administration officials have visited four cities and held roundtable discussions to ask entrepreneurs for their ideas on which Federal regulations and processes could be changed to foster greater entrepreneurship, innovation, and job creation.

In Durham, North Carolina, we heard from one business owner who wants to simplify tax reporting for small businesses.  At our second stop in Austin, an entrepreneur suggested establishing a “startup concierge” to assist aspiring startups through the regulatory process.  And in Boston, several participants noted the complex requirements to become a government contractor and suggested ways for federal agencies to streamline processes. 

In Minneapolis, a participant voiced a concern that one size does not fit all entrepreneurs.  He noted that different approval processes in the medical device sector for therapeutics and diagnostics might help streamline the timeline for approval.   

The idea of providing student loan relief to entrepreneurs has come up in every city we have visited.  In the coming weeks, we will visit Atlanta, Boulder, Pittsburgh, and Silicon Valley to gather more ideas on which processes and regulations we need to improve. 

We’ve also created an online tool where anyone can submit, comment, and vote on the new ideas and proposed solutions they think are most important.  We know that the average entrepreneur is too busy to travel to Washington and engage in the policy process, so we have made sure this online forum is quick and easy to use.

At the end of this series of roundtables, we will gather all the feedback and online comments and create a list of the top suggestions.  Administration officials will use this input to write a report to the President on how to best reduce barriers and continue to strengthen America’s entrepreneurial spirit.  The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs is also committed to sharing your solutions with the agencies as it coordinates implementation of the President’s Executive Order for regulatory review.

The feedback we receive from entrepreneurs at each of these roundtables and through online participation will help us create a more supportive environment for small businesses.  Thank you for helping us to assist entrepreneurs across America as they drive economic growth and create good jobs.  And stay tuned over the next month as we share more new ideas from our upcoming Reducing Barriers roundtable events. 

Sean Greene is the Associate Administrator for Investment and Senior Adviser for Innovation at the U.S. Small Business Administration

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