Silicon Valley is synonymous with ground-breaking innovations and market-shaping exports, and I’m not just talking about gadgets and social media apps. The world’s global capital of high technology also produced a game-changing model for empowering entrepreneurs who wish to transform small smart-ups into “the next big thing.” This morning at the White House, I met with a group of leaders who are exporting the Silicon Valley-style incubator to America’s heartland and beyond. They are the winners of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) first-ever Growth Accelerator Competition. As SBA Administrator, I talk a lot about “entrepreneurial ecosystems,” because we know successful new enterprises aren’t created in a vacuum. Incubators, or accelerators, create a multi-faceted support structure to help startups quickly launch and commercialize their ideas. They offer entrepreneurs a physical infrastructure to work during their infancy; hands-on mentoring; peer support; expert help developing business plans; opportunities to network with funders, angel investors, and venture capitalists; and introductions to potential customers, partners and suppliers. The research is clear: Entrepreneurs supported by strong ecosystems scale up faster, create more jobs, and have a greater chance at success. Accelerators minimize entrepreneurial growing pains and turn cool new ideas into job-creating enterprises. As a native Californian, I saw their transformative impact in the Silicon Valley, and I’m confident this model can work in communities across America. read more

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Small Business Administration Accelerator Winners Apply Silicon Valley Model Across the Country