the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

We Can't Wait: Obama Administration Announces Two Steps to Help Businesses Create Jobs, Strengthen Competitiveness

WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, the Obama Administration announced it is taking two important steps to help U.S businesses create jobs and strengthen their competitiveness in a global economy.  Through two Presidential Memoranda issued today, the Obama Administration will take steps to speed up the transfer of federal research and development from the laboratory to the marketplace, and it will create BusinessUSA, a one-stop, central online platform where small businesses and businesses of all sizes that want to begin or increase exporting can access information about available federal programs without having to waste time navigating the federal bureaucracy.  These announcements are part of a series of executive actions to put Americans back to work and strengthen the economy because we can’t wait for Congressional Republicans to act.

“With too many families struggling and too many businesses fighting to keep their doors open, we can’t wait for Congress to take action,” President Obama said.  “Today, I am directing my Administration to take two important steps to help American businesses create new products, compete in a global economy, and create jobs here at home.”

Accelerating Products from the Science Lab to the Marketplace

Breakthroughs in science and engineering create foundations for new industries, new companies, and new jobs.  With world-class universities and federal laboratories, the United States has long led the world in this innovative process.  As other countries begin to challenge American leadership in innovation, America must expand its ability to transfer science and engineering breakthroughs from the laboratory to the commercial marketplace.  Today’s Presidential Memorandum directs all federal agencies with research facilities to accelerate this timeline in three key ways:   

  • It directs agencies to streamline and accelerate the process for private-public research partnerships, small business research and development grants, and university-startup collaborations.  This will result in grants to startups being made 50% faster. 
  • It gives agencies more flexibility to partner with industry, encouraging them to create new partnerships with local communities, support the growth of regional innovation clusters, and share laboratory facilities with local businesses, among others. 
  • It will institute more accountability by directing agencies to develop a five-year plan with concrete goals and metrics to measure progress, including keeping track of how many patents each lab is generating.

Accelerating this timeline will help startups and small businesses around the country create new technologies, create new jobs and grow their companies while making more efficient use of the approximately $147 billion a year that the federal government invests in research and development.  Over the years, federal agencies have supported a number of startups that have gone on to define an industry. Each one of these companies, for example, received a federal research grant:

  • Qualcomm, a global American telecommunication corporation that designs and manufactures wireless communications equipment.
  • Symantec, a global software giant -- now the largest maker of security software for computers.
  • The iRobot Corporation, which designs robots such as the Roomba, for home vacuuming, and the PackBot, for the US military.

Creating a Streamlined, Virtual One-Stop Shop to Help Businesses Grow and Hire

Today, the Obama Administration is also following through on President Obama’s commitment to launch a centralized, one-stop online platform to make it easier than ever for businesses small and large to access services to help them grow and hire.  Today’s Presidential Memorandum directs the Administration to create within 90 days BusinessUSA, a one-stop shop for information regarding federal programs and services relevant to small businesses and businesses of all sizes that want to begin or increase exporting.
BusinessUSA will implement a “No Wrong Door” policy for small businesses and exporters by using technology to quickly connect businesses to the services and information relevant to them, regardless of where the information is located or which agency’s website, call center, or office they go to for help.  And the more federal agencies continue to add content to BusinessUSA to encompass the full range of business programs and services, the more we will be able to reduce the confusing array of websites that exist today.  To ensure that it is oriented towards the needs of the customer, BusinessUSA will be designed, tested, and built with the active feedback of U.S. businesses and relevant online communities and, to the extent possible, will integrate related state and local government services, as well as those of private sector partners.

To strengthen America’s competitiveness in the global economy, we need to equip businesses with the tools and information necessary to support innovation and job growth in the 21st century.  Through BusinessUSA, small businesses and businesses who want to grow their exports will be able to find and access relevant programs, information, and other services from across the government rather than having to waste time navigating through the federal bureaucracy – thereby further streamlining and coordinating federal programs to reduce costs and provide customer-oriented service.  These changes were called for by the President’s Jobs Council, the President’s Export Council and small and medium sized businesses across the country as part of broad outreach by the Government Reorganization Initiative.