Whether it’s a garage, a basement, a dorm room, or—if you’re like me— a kitchen , a great idea can ignite just about anywhere. In America, those small sparks of innovation have defined who we are as people—creators, risk-takers, and boundary-breakers who know our unwavering commitment to a single dream can significantly reshape our reality. In America, anyone with a good idea can grow into a successful entrepreneur. And it’s so important that they do, because it is their small businesses that create jobs and drive our economy. However, when it comes to starting a business in America, we are currently ranked 46th in the world . It’s time to change that. Today, high-growth companies across the country are connecting with their Members of Congress in the third annual Startup Day Across America . This event, championed by Congressman Jared Polis of Colorado, gives Members and entrepreneurs a chance to discuss the challenges small businesses face, and to identify ways that Congress can support the startup economy. American ingenuity remains one of the most valuable resources in the world. Beyond just tech, entrepreneurs in Colorado and beyond are reshaping the world of aerospace, energy, bioscience, food, outdoor recreation, and even beer. Startups are responsible for the majority of new jobs in the US – we’ve got to make sure we’re supporting these job creators with policies that help, not hinder them. Congressman Jared Polis Startup Day shows that both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue understand the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship to the country’s economy. President Obama has made supporting entrepreneurship a top priority—and under his leadership, we’ve worked to make sure every American innovator has the chance to get good ideas off the ground. Earlier this month, we hosted the first-ever White House Demo Day, part of the President’s Startup America initiative to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship. The President welcomed dozens of startups from around the country to share their stories, showcasing the full breadth of the country’s entrepreneurial talent. The theme for Demo Day was Inclusive Entrepreneurship, working to make sure all talent in our country has access to the entrepreneurial ecosystem—an ecosystem that is the envy of the world. Today many women, people of color or those not in certain metro areas do not have access to the same growth capital and other important resources to support their startup to scale. Some people are not encouraged to start business or join in the startup economy. As part of working to expand access for all entrepreneurial Americans, we announced specific new commitments on Demo Day, from 40 leading venture capital firms, over a dozen major technology companies, and more than a hundred deans of engineering schools, to promote diversity throughout the entrepreneurial ecosystem. We announced or extended programs from the Departments of Commerce, Energy, and Health and Human Services that support startup companies around the country. We also announced grant winners in two new Small Business Administration programs: “Startup in a Day,” and the Growth Accelerator Fund. Both programs are designed to spark inclusive entrepreneurship across the country, especially outside traditional centers for venture capital. Startup In a Day has a simple goal: Help entrepreneurs find, understand, and apply to meet the requirements for starting a business—in less than one day. The SBA is partnering with 25 cities and two Native American communities to develop online tools that consolidate startup information and streamline permitting processes. Every community involved has pledged to share best practices through the National League of Cities, so cities and towns across the country can help their own entrepreneurs get off the ground more quickly. The Growth Accelerator Fund supports “accelerator” organizations, which help startups obtain the capital, mentorship, and institutional support they need to grow. Through this fund, the SBA will provide selected accelerators $4 million to expand their efforts, helping more founders and small businesses get good ideas moving. But our work to support entrepreneurs and small businesses isn’t done. Updating our trade policy is another lever we can pull to help jumpstart American entrepreneurs. Here’s why: 95 percent of the world’s customers live outside the U.S. And when we compete for those customers on a level playing field, our innovators and small businesses are the far and away winners. That’s why President Obama is working to secure the Trans-Pacific Partnership —a high-standard, progressive trade agreement that can help level that playing field, open new markets, and set strong rules of the road that protect American businesses, workers, and values at home and abroad. Entrepreneurship is more important than ever to the future health of the country’s economy. President Obama will continue to work with Members of Congress like those celebrating Startup Day Across America today to give every American entrepreneur the opportunity to be a part of the country’s success—because the next big idea can come from anywhere.
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The Next Big Idea: Supporting Startups Across America