White House ‘Starts Up’ Tech Innovation through Matching Private Investments

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Photo: Fantasista

The Obama administration launched a campaign yesterday to leverage the power of technology and the entrepreneurial spirit to build the next generation of tech leaders.

The White House event, called “Startup America,” will focus on mentoring the up-and-coming tech workforce, as well as matching investments from the private sector, according to a report in The Hill.

“Startup America is really much bigger than the individual initiative. It’s a cross-administration and nationwide call to action for leaders of all sectors and industries to come together around entrepreneurs and help them win the future,” said Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills to reporters, The Hill reported.

Specifics of the plan include: streamlining the patent process, eliminating redundant and outdated regulations, ending the capital gains tax on certain small-business investments and spurring private investment.

SBA has a $2 billion pool, from which to match private-sector capital investments, especially those who invest in smaller firms working in “high-growth” areas, The Hill reported, such as clean-energy technology.

In his State of the Union address last week, President Barack Obama said the nation was approaching a “Sputnik moment,” in terms of federal adoption of technology.  He said the upcoming budget would reflect new priorities in biomedical research, IT and clean-energy technology.

According to The Hill, so far, private companies have heeded Startup America’s call.

Intel Capital pledged $200 million in new investment in U.S. companies; IBM promised $150 million for programs that promote entrepreneurship; and, HP said it would devote $4 million to educational programs for small businesses.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Austan Goolsbee, among other White House officials, helped to kick off the initiative yesterday at the White House.

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1 Comment

  1. StartUpAmerica is just more useless public relations and cheerleading. Of course we should encourage start-ups, but it is much more important to seek breakthroughs.

    Energy is a good example – DOE and private industry have spent $400 billion in the last 20 years on R+D and financing for green technologies and yet we still haven’t found “clean, affordable electricity.” That’s the goal.

    During the last two years DOE (with Stimulus funds) has spent more than $30 billion on “development deals,” primarily for over-priced and under-performing wind and solar schemes. Most of these projects received 100% “loan guarantees” and those loans can never be repaid. They are grants.

    America (and the world) should get serious about finding a breakthrough by offering a $1 billion prize for a solution. DOE should hold an Energy Summit and review ALL potential solutions. We would either find a breakthrough or understand exactly where we are.

    It is delusional to continue to pretend that wind and solar can meet our energy needs – they never will. America has made progress because of competition and reward and now is a good time to remember that, Offer a PRIZE and let’s get busy seeking a real, sustainable solution.

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