Today, President Obama recognized the one-year anniversary of Startup America, the White House initiative to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation.
As part of the Administration’s commitment to unleash market opportunities for entrepreneurs, in December we launched the Startup America Policy Challenge to identify high-impact ideas to support entrepreneurship in areas of national interest: education, energy, and health care.
To kick off the challenge, Secretary Arne Duncan (Department of Education), Secretary Steven Chu (Department of Energy), and Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (Department of Health and Human Services) each asked the American public for ideas about how the U.S. government can break down barriers to entrepreneurship and enable the use of clean energy, digital learning, and health information technologies.
The dialogue on Quora continues to be inspiring, with impassioned discussion about how to best enable use of these technologies, including discussion about how to tear down barriers to customer adoption. In the spirit of today’s focus on innovators, I also want to pose the question directly to entrepreneurs:
- Ed-tech entrepreneurs – what’s your biggest barrier to introducing learning technologies solutions into the marketplace?
- Clean-tech entrepreneurs – what’s your biggest barrier to introducing clean energy innovations into the marketplace?
- Health IT entrepreneurs – what’s your biggest barrier to introducing healthcare IT solutions into the marketplace?
Entrepreneurs and innovators are busy, though, building their businesses. Other than a response on Quora, they may not have the time or interest in thinking about the idea translates to policy solutions. That’s why I’m pleased to announce today that a network of universities have responded to the Startup America Policy Challenge, launching a contest for students and other solvers to compete to develop the best “policy business plans.”
The independent contest is open to students, problem solvers and the American public at large – anyone who wants to take the ideas from the Policy Challenge and turn them into compelling policy proposals. Finalists will get a chance to attend a conference in Washington D.C. and present their full proposals to a panel of high-profile expert judges with backgrounds in government, industry, and academia—and winning proposals will be shared with the Cabinet Secretary from the relevant federal agency.