Happy Birthday, Startup America!
One year ago, President Obama called for an all-hands-on-deck effort to accelerate the success of entrepreneurs across the country. One year later, Startup America has made major progress on three fronts:
1. Calling on Congress
At his Cabinet meeting this week, the President unveiled a Startup America Legislative Agenda to expand tax relief and unlock capital for startups and small businesses. This agenda builds on the President’s previous calls for Congressional action, including his September 2011 American Jobs Act address and his State of the Union address, and outlines bipartisan ideas to help fuel startup success:
- Cutting taxes: The President is proposing to build on the 17 small business tax cuts he has already signed into law with four new tax cuts to encourage growth and investment by permanently eliminating capital gains taxes on crucial early-stage small business investments, creating a 10% income tax credit on new payroll, doubling the deduction for entrepreneurs’ startup expenses, and extending 100% depreciation.
- Unlocking capital: The President is putting forward responsible measures that will help growing businesses access financing by enabling small-dollar investments through crowdfunding, creating an “IPO on-ramp” that will reduce regulatory costs for smaller firms in their first years after going public, raising the cap on “mini-offerings,” and expanding available financing through the Small Business Investment Company program.
- Relieving the backlog of immigrant visas: As he put forward in his Blueprint for Building a 21st Century Immigration System, the President is calling for a balanced approach to eliminate country-specific caps for certain immigrant visa categories to attract more highly-skilled foreign workers, including entrepreneurs.
2. Taking Administrative Action
For his part, last year the President launched the White House Startup America Initiative, a government-wide effort to expand access to capital, cut red tape, and accelerate innovation. The Administration just published a new Progress Report of policy accomplishments for entrepreneurs, and redoubled its commitment to do more.
The Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to attract and retain foreign-born entrepreneurs and highly-skilled immigrants so they can start the next generation of great American companies. New measures will streamline existing pathways for immigrant entrepreneurs, retain more foreign-born science and technology graduates from U.S. universities, facilitate immigration by top researchers, and help U.S. startups and other companies compete for global talent.
Meanwhile, other agencies are launching new and expanded initiatives to improve the commercialization of energy research, promote youth entrepreneurship, and foster regional innovation and mentor networks.
The President made clear that he expects even more action for entrepreneurs in the coming year, when he spoke with his Cabinet this week:
“[What] we want to do is to make sure that every single agency, even as they’re tending to their energy initiatives or providing homeland security or transportation or defense, that we’re also thinking about how are we’re advancing the cause of giving small businesses and entrepreneurs opportunities to start creating the next Google or the next Apple or the next innovative company that’s going to create jobs and improve our economy.”
3. Mobilizing the Private Sector
One year ago, the private sector responded to the President’s call to action by forming the Startup America Partnership, a nonprofit alliance of entrepreneurs, major corporations, and service providers dedicated to making startups more successful. In just one year, the Partnership has mobilized over $1 billion in business resources to serve as many as 100,000 startups over the next three years.
This week the Partnership launched nine new entrepreneur-led regional networks across the country in the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Vermont, while previously launched Startup Regions celebrated in Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Tennessee. Check out their anniversary video, which includes some great footage of their all-entrepreneur board at a meeting with the President last month.
Although a great deal has been accomplished during the first year of Startup America, we hope that more individuals and organizations will join this all-hands-on-deck effort by:
- Participating in the Startup America Partnership and providing concrete resources (capital, expertise, services, serving as an early customer) to startups.
- Improving the environment for launching and growing a business in communities across the country by getting involved in Startup Regions.
- Developing new public and private initiatives so that America continues to be the best place in the world to turn an idea into a business. For example, you can submit an idea to the Startup America Policy Challenge for ways to accelerate entrepreneurial innovation in energy, education, and healthcare.
Stay tuned, and send us your feedback on how to make Startup America even more successful in the year to come...
Tom Kalil is Deputy Director for Policy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Doug Rand is Senior Advisor to the Deputy Director.
White House Blogs
- The White House Blog
- Middle Class Task Force
- Council of Economic Advisers
- Council on Environmental Quality
- Council on Women and Girls
- Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
- Office of Management and Budget
- Office of Public Engagement
- Office of Science & Tech Policy
- Office of Urban Affairs
- Open Government
- Faith and Neighborhood Partnerships
- Social Innovation and Civic Participation
- US Trade Representative
- Office National Drug Control Policy