March 6, 2012, 3:54 pm
Our government is being strangled by partisan politics. Youth employment is at a 60-year low. Student loan debt is approaching $1 trillion (and default rates are rising quickly).
Yet young Americans are far more optimistic about our country’s future than the pundits would have you believe – and they are demonstrating that optimism through entrepreneurship. According to a 2011 survey, 23% of young people started a business as a result of being unemployed. Fifteen percent started a business in college. And let’s not forget our veterans, who are twice as likely as other Americans to own businesses.
So why are so few pundits and politicians building on that entrepreneurial energy as a solution to joblessness and economic malaise? The fact is, it’s high time we funneled our collective energy toward rebuilding an entrepreneurial America.
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This is not an abstract endeavor. My own organization, the Young Entrepreneur Council, and partners like Junior Achievement, Babson College, Codecademy, Venture for America, and College Hunks Hauling Junk, have identified a handful of tried-and-true approaches that are already successfully fostering business creation by young people all over America. I’ve summed up in five broad strategies that we believe need to be adopted to accelerate this vital movement.
1. Integrate Academia and the Real World
In a 2011 survey, 88% of young people said that entrepreneurship education is vitally important given the new economy—and yet 74% of college students had no access to entrepreneurship resources on campus. And when resources were available, most students felt they were woefully inadequate.
This is not acceptable—in the 21st century, entrepreneurial thinking isn’t just for entrepreneurs. Adaptability, creativity and financial literacy are core skills for American employees and so-called intrapreneurs –innovators within larger organizations – as well. They’re also critical assets to our communities: Junior Achievement and the Aspen Institute found that youth-entrepreneurship programs positively impacted dropout rates and community engagement, not to mention the development of risk-taking and opportunity recognition. But most employers today think high school and college graduates are seriously deficient in skills like leadership and innovation, and we face a steep shortfall of graduates majoring in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.
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If we actually want to change the way Americans work, then parents, K-12 schools, community colleges, four-year colleges and entrepreneurship-focused nonprofits must meet these challenges head-on. Junior Achievement, Babson, Cogswell College, the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), among others, are leading the way.
2. Eliminate Government Barriers
Even our deadlocked Congress has found bi-partisan compromises in entrepreneurship-related legislation, including reforms to the patent process and student loan relief. But gridlock is preventing truly decisive action. From increasing states’ self-employment assistance programs to removing regulations prohibiting startups from openly crowdsourcing capital, we need the U.S. government to do better.
As Americans, we must demand a boldly pro-growth agenda. To start with, let’s pass the Youth Entrepreneurship Act, which would defer or forgive student loan debt for young entrepreneurs using the precedent set by the Income-Based Repayment program. And let’s pass the VET Act of 2011, so our returning vets can use GI benefits to start businesses.
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An overwhelming 88% of young people feel the government does not support them. It is our duty to hold our representatives accountable. We can begin by asking them to stop handicapping the youth-owned startups of tomorrow.
3. Invest in and Mentor Young Entrepreneurs
Initiatives Startup America Partnership and Dell’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence (disclosure: I’ve worked with both organizations) program are models for the private sector. Business leaders can team up with accelerators, venture funds, campus groups, regional leadership and nonprofits to mentor, finance, and train the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Or they can help pave the way for the next public software engineering school, as Union Square Ventures VC Fred Wilson did in New York. Franchisors can extend special financing to youth and veterans—after all, direct economic output in the franchise sector is projected to grow 5 percent in 2012, and employment, 2.1 percent. And we need to openly encourage our young people to work in startups, which generate all net new jobs—so those companies grow, and young people thrive
Finally, we all need to start creating common-sense avenues for financial support. Microloan financiers like Kiva are easing global unemployment throughout the developing world—why not here? And frankly, improving access to capital doesn’t necessarily start with banks—having non-financial support doubles the likelihood that a young entrepreneur will be approved for a commercial loan.
4. Teach Technology Inside and Outside the Classroom
The Web has revolutionized the way we do business, creating a far more level playing field for young entrepreneurs—provided they have the skill set to take advantage of it.
One study found that small-to-medium businesses with strong Web presences grew twice as fast as those with only a minimal presence (or none at all) and created twice the number of jobs. We need to prepare all young people for this reality through sustainable technology programs that work in tandem with academics. In the classroom, this means teaching hands-on software engineering, not just computing basics—the Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting an employment increase for software engineers of 32 percent by 2018. Outside the classroom, companies like Codecademy can fill gaps in K-12 and college education by creating peer-to-peer platforms where aspiring coders learn by doing.
5. Foster Entrepreneurship at the Regional Level
Not all solutions fit all communities. For example, cities facing economic decline need to create resource-rich networks so young entrepreneurs can cut through red tape at the local level instead of departing en masse. The Idea Village in New Orleans has sustained more than 1,000 jobs and $83 million in revenue by retaining and supporting the city’s entrepreneurs.
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Underserved regions must develop ecosystems in which idea exchange, growth, and financial support are readily available. From Silicon Prairie to New Orleans, entrepreneurs are bridging gaps between local government, investors and backyard entrepreneurs. These hyper-local networks provide the momentum Americans need to get new businesses off the ground immediately.
It’s Time to Fix Young America
I am only touching on some of the solutions working right now. There are leaders in every sector—government, education, nonprofit and private—who can add to this list as we approach the 2012 elections. If we really want to shift the national conversation for good, then we need to lay all solutions on the table for our decision makers to see.
Importantly, this is not about making life easier for Millennials. It’s about ensuring that, when they become the 30-, 40- and 50-something leaders of tomorrow, they will have the capacity and ability to lead America forward.
The YEC leads #FixYoungAmerica, a solutions-based movement that aims to end youth unemployment and put young Americans back to work.
March 1, 2012, 12:21 pm
By Howard J. Leonhardt
We are about to experience the grandest expression of human creativity and economic growth ever seen in the history of human civilization. Innovative breakthroughs that took decades to create, fund, develop and bring to market will now take mere months. New ideas will be free market tested earlier in their development cycle and discarded or funded at a faster rate. The old innovators mantra of try a lot of stuff and keep what works will be applied at hyper speed rates.
It is universal amongst mankind that right after the health and security of their family what is most sought is a good job. Crowdfunding creates jobs.
Crowdfunding is human will expressed in pure form. A person with a vision becomes a dream funded on a mission. It is the explosive combination of democracy and free market capitalism. It’s democracy and capitalism in action: think you have a great idea? Convince enough people and you can make it a reality. If not, back to the drawing board. It allows new ideas to get funded and to be free market tested at a lower cost, with less complexity, in less time than ever before. Experimentation has now become possible for millions that were previously excluded from having any chance for their idea to be tried. I am confident that this simple breakthrough socio-economic tool is about to herald in mankind’s greatest era.
Every human has a need to feel a part of some great cause and rewarding project. The greatest tragedy of this recession is not the toll on all our bank accounts it is the toll on the human spirit. Crowdfunding is about to be the spark that energizes people to follow their dreams, and to join others that they believe in, to pursue a cause worthy of pursuing. Now more than ever we crave something to believe in, something to support, a reason to care.
A case can be made that the real cause of this worldwide recession is a lost of confidence in these five major forms…
1. Loss of consumer confidence to buy things.
2. Loss of investor confidence to invest.
3. Loss of business confidence to buy and hire for growth.
4. Loss of bank confidence to make loans to businesses.
5. Loss of availability of credit to potential buyers.
We believe crowdfunding can be the spark that ignites growing confidence in all five of these essential areas. When people are given the opportunity to pursue their dreams they light up the world around them with enthusiasm, which leads to accomplishment, gratitude and increased confidence.
This simple adaptation in the way new ideas are funded is what we have needed to grow, not only economically but also socially. It is perhaps the most important innovative economic development EVER. It changes everything. Communities empower individuals and individuals empower communities. Now suddenly everyone everywhere has a decent shot at getting a million dollars in funding on any given day. Talk about waking people up to hope and excitement. Talk about a true meritocracy – this is it. You are now truly as good as your idea and your ability to gather support. It is far more efficient than the old models of financing.
The funds of the crowdfunding actually go primarily to the producers and not to non-value adding middlemen and bureaucrats. Customers become investors become apostles, mentors and supporters. A community with a common mission. A win win scenario for all. There is no more powerful force on earth than a person given a fair chance to pursue the true dreams of their heart.
Crowdfunding engages customers and involves them. In the modern age engaging customers is essential to growth.
Crowdfunding has the opportunity to fuel another development whose time has come – conscious capitalism or social good entrepreneurship and the age of the social good entrepreneur. Doing well by doing good is about to become the norm not the exception. We will see the birth of a new stock exchange that is more deeply connected with our fundamental desire to support the happiness of people, their health, sustainable communities and our environment. A more caring approach to customers, co-workers, investors and the community will be good business because consumers and investors will reward these types of enterprises.
A new way of work and monumental shift in the relationships between consumers, employees and employers has begun to happen. Everyone is about to become an entrepreneur. What used to be known as your employer will now be the anchor customer of your independent contracting business. Thirty years from now when a young person is asked the simple question “what do you do?” the reply will rarely be one single answer. Most people will have at least three streams of income.
There are more than 7 billion people worldwide with 2 billion with access to the Internet. All 7 billion people have similar needs, wants and desires. Human nature after all is relatively consistent. We all want food, shelter, means of transport, entertainment, security, joy and happiness. Until all 7 billion of us have had all our needs and desires met, a potential growth market exists for entrepreneurs to fill.
Modern communication tools such as the Internet and efficient means of transport have set the stage for world commerce to boom. The two missing elements have been that most people with dreams could not find financing and most people interested to buy things could not find financing. Crowdfunding and microloans implemented through crowdfunding can address both of these missing pieces that will enable the highest level of economic growth we have ever experienced.
What’s new about crowdfunding you ask that is not already in place? Why will this simple innovation have such profound impact? Here is a listing….
• There were so many obstacles and upfront costs to funding new ideas with the old methods that it discouraged most to participate.
• The average IPO in the USA costs more than $2.4 million up front to have the first right to sell shares of a company to the public with limited general solicitation allowed.
• Crowdfunding will be the spark that gets people that never before thought of investing in a startup in their community to do so now.
• Social sharing of great new ideas is contagious. Multiple social media platforms stretching the world have been developed with billions of participants. The crowdfunding law change will unleash the enormous power of social media to mate good ideas led by good people with capital. This will change the world.
• The small entrepreneur with little resources to start will now be empowered.
Economic growth is driven by innovation. Innovation is driven by experimentation. Crowdfunding funds experimentation.
• Lots of funders equals lots of help equals a better chance of success.
• Ben Franklin said, “Money is a proliferative by nature. To make the second dollar is much easier than the first. The trouble is making the first.” Crowdfunding provides the first dollar.
• Consumers that are investors are a powerful combination to propel a company upwards.
Early adopters SHOULD be the ones that get the reward opportunity to invest early in a great new idea. Their feedback often is what creates the final successful version of the product.
• Why shouldn’t smalltime Facebook users be the ones to profit from Facebook stock appreciation instead of outside big scale financiers that likely have never been a Facebook participant. There is a social justice to crowdfunding that makes sense.
• Crowdfunding is more likely provide more fair and equal access to capital to women, minorities and youth than the old gatekeeper systems of the past.
Crowdfunding is social networking meets angel investing. There are approximately 60,000 angel investors in the USA now. Crowdfunding is likely to create 60 million new angel investors in the USA alone. This is a powerful transformational development that alters the landscape of financing forever more.
Albeit rare, with Crowdfunding in action there will be housewives that think of an idea on Monday and will have $1 million in the bank to pursue their dream by Friday. Peers that believe in them and their cause will fund good ideas expressed by people that gain trust quickly. Since most crowdfunding investments will be small it will enable new experiments to be tried. With micro financing testing new ideas and testing new investments can be done with a minimization of individual pain in the case of failure. People may gamble a $25 bet on a long shot that normally would never get funded if the minimum investment VC style were expected to be $250,000. Some of these long shots that get funded by crowdfunding, that would have never have received funding with the old financing paradigm, are going to be the ones that change our world for the better.
Crowdfunding is going to be a tool for people to invest in their own communities. This type of helping hand support to people in your own communities will help create sustainable economic health. The growing movements of Local Investing, Buy Local and Impact Investing will all be supported with Crowdfunding at a primary financial tool.
Crowfunding will be teamed with crowdsourcing of information and resources. Every enterprise will become an exercise in the power of collaborative communities.
Of the 7 billion people on earth perhaps ¾’s or 5 billion are engaged in work that does not energize them to be the grandest vision of themselves. Crowdfunding has the potential to do more than anything before in getting more people than ever excited to go into work each day.
Artistic creativity is already well into a new Renaissance with crowdfunding leading the way. Great artists of types, especially in music, that would have never been given a chance to express their art are getting that chance now thanks to crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding in the form of small donations in mass has already transformed politics. We would like to see campaign reform laws established that limit to $200 donations to politicians and only allow them to come from individuals, not corporations or any other source.
Charitable organizations doing good work have applied the power of social media in raising funds with enormous success in the past decade. The crowdfunding of charitable causes via social media has altered the way non-profits operate and has given them a low cost tool to have further reach than ever before.
We believe crowdfunding combined with entrepreneurship education can be instrumental in ending war. Regions should self crowd finance their young people in troubled zones around the world. When these young people are busy working each day they will be less likely to be persuaded to take up arms and pursue war, especially if their customers and investors are on the other side of the conflict. We hereby end this dissertation with a hail call to those in Palestine and Israel to give this experiment a try. Yes we are asking American Jews and Israeli’s to invest in the enterprises of young Palestinians. We are confident the plan will work. If the currently idle youth in places like Palestine turn to becoming productive citizens of the world, earning income by providing value, they will then be able to afford U.S. and Israeli goods which will in turn rise U.S. and Israeli incomes.
Crowdfunding will ignite worldwide prosperity if you join us by investing just $25 a week in startups in your community and if you encourage others to do the same. Consumer, banking and investor confidence will follow. The world will forever more be changed for the better. At last freedom will be translated to genuine opportunity for all.
February 22, 2012, 6:07 pm
Most Expansive Economic Growth Ever
By Howard J. Leonhardt
Friday, February 17th, 2012 – Santa Monica, California – If public and private interests unite to convince a majority of Americans to invest just $25 a week in startups, via the new crowdfunding platforms, we will ignite the most expansive economic growth ever seen on earth. Added to this public outreach effort should be passing the entire slate of the StartUp America Legislative Agenda and the Cal-X Join the Movement package of Entrepreneurship bills. Additional new bills should be passed with these two key provisions.
Foreigners that invest $25 a week in U.S. startups should be given exchangeable earned points that accelerates U.S. visa processing applications. 96% of all people live outside the USA so incentivizing this group to invest in U.S. companies could have an enormous impact.
U.S. companies that have funds in off shore tax havens like the Cayman Islands and Switzerland should be given tax free readmission of those funds in the USA IF they invest those funds in startups. This is an enormous pool of cash.
With the power of the internet and social networking we have entered a new age. Social media movements have a momentum in building rapid support for a cause that has never been seen in the history of man. We believe two key elements are essential for crowdfunding to work.
The core of every funding should be customers of the company and members of their local community.
We need to encourage a whole new class of investors that have never before invested in a start up to do so now. Without investors crowdfunding platforms are a bridge to nowhere.
Cal-X The California Stock Exchange www.calstockexchange.com did extensive research to determine what it would take to attract a whole new class of start-up company investors. The research work was done primarily in California itself so keep this in mind when observing the results summary below.
• The concept of investing in their local communities to better the places where they live was the number one draw.
• The opportunity to meet entrepreneurs in person to look them in the eye to develop human level trust and rapport.
• A platform dedicated to only listing companies with a social good mission to their purpose (a broad large tent definition of what constitutes social good is acceptable).
• A special emphasis in helping women, minorities and youth currently excluded from traditional financing routes will draw more women in to invest.
• Making a requirement that listed companies agree to self audit for equal pay for equal work for women and minorities will help.
• Only listing companies that have a commitment to protecting the environment with sustainable community practices would draw a new class of investors to participate.
• Having a probability of survival scoring system for new companies that is easy to follow would increase investor comfort and thus increase participation.
• Requiring that listed companies first have an endorsing investor that has experience in the field in question, has done due diligence and that puts their own money and reputation at stake.
• A step up exit for crowdfunded small companies should be a new stock exchange that caters to small companies.
• A crowdfunding platform and stock exchange should be interlinked to a network offering mentoring nurturing support to firms every step of their development. This is necessary to increase probability of survival and potential for return on investment.
• Crowdfunding investors should be able to make milestone achievement driven investments in stages just like the sophisticated VCs do today.
• All IPOs should be Dutch Auction with open free access to all.
• Short trading and day trading should be prohibited on a stock exchange catering to small companies.
• Microlicensing which pays investors a percentage of revenues instead of just a variable of net profits should be an integral part of crowdfunding platforms and stock exchanges specializing in small companies.
• Election of board directors in small companies should be fully democratic by the shareholders without having a pre-slate established and protected by the existing board.
• Small companies should have high degree of transparency and access by shareholders. Company CEOs and CFOs should handle 2 hour quarterly sessions answering un-filtered questions from shareholders much like how the British House of Commons fires questions to their Prime Minister in periodic sessions. These question sessions should be recorded and posted on the company’s web site.
• There should be no prohibition for a company to use social media tools to reach out to new potential investors.
• People want to feel a part of something. They want a cause to believe in and a sense of belonging. They want the satisfaction of a personal connection of gratitude from the entrepreneurs and their team for the hard earned money they have invested with them. They want a recognition that they are betting on this venture because they believe in the people not just the idea and product. They want an end to the cold hearted distant ways of Wall Street. They want sustainable community investing at the human level. They want a more direct connection. They want to know that most their investment is going to the cause and not to outside middlemen and bureaucrats not adding any value.
At The California Stock Exchange we run every entrepreneur through a statistical analysis with our patented Cal-X EquityNet probability of survival business plan analysis software. We also grade the entrepreneur on their ability to make a Steve Jobs like pitch for their company and their products. We test the fire in the belly of the entrepreneur that does not show up in data searches alone. We combine this hard statistical analysis with more than 52 different inputs with a human emotional assessment to create a Cal-X EquityNet overall probability of survival score for the fledgling company. Those that score better than 50% are eligible to be listed beyond our Cal-X Zimplemoney friends and family round financing on our platform. Those that score under 50% are encouraged to enter our long term coaching, mentoring and incubating network to attempt to increase their score over time. When their score is high enough they are nominated by their mentor to return to the Cal-X platform for financing. This innovation is designed to work both ways increasing likelihood of an entrepreneur to get funded and improving the chances of return for an investor.
We believe crowfunding platforms that do not offer value added services of nurturing entrepreneurs and protecting investor risk will fail in the long run. Crowdfunding platforms that take a listing fee and then provide little to no feedback, no help and most important no funding, may kill the whole field early if a better alternative does not emerge to save the reputation of crowdfunding. We also strongly believe in a private certification process in the industry to weed out early platform fraudsters. Crowdsourcing.org is a firm organizing an accredited certification process.
How and why does crowdfunding startups create jobs? Here is a short list…
From 1980–2005, firms less than five years old accounted for all net job growth in the United States. Facts support new firms create jobs. Business Dynamics Statistics Briefing: Jobs Created from Business Startups in the United States, January 2009
Startups and young firms are the innovators that create products that drive worldwide market growth.
Exports create jobs and small firms create the innovations worthy of winning export customers.
Excitement of startups succeeding lifts the spirit of the country and increases consumer confidence which increases orders for products, which in turn creates even more jobs.
People work harder and are more productive when they are doing what they love. Financing startups gets more people productive which grows the economy.
How important are small businesses to the U.S. economy?
Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
Employ half of all private sector employees.
Pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll.
Generated 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years.
Create more than half of the nonfarm private GDP.
Hire 43 percent of high tech workers ( scientists, engineers, computer programmers, and others).
Made up 97.5 percent of all identified exporters and produced 31 percent of export value in FY 2008.
Produce 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms.
From: SBA.gov Fact Sheet
The most important part of the crowdfunding revolution is not the financial side it is the human side. This one innovation has the potential to un-bottle a great reservoir of positive human energy. This innovation has the potential to do more towards getting people to wake up excited and energized to enter the workday than anything that has been done before.
We believe this innovation goes beyond the scope of just the U.S.A. If Crowdfunding is used in Palestine, Mexico, Afghanistan and other troubled areas to put to work the youth of those regions, it can end the frustrations that perpetuate war.
Listen to entrepreneurship AUDIO speech click here
Proud supporter of www.startupamericapartnership.org
Partner in StartUp America Partnership via
February 2, 2012, 10:04 am
Entrepreneur Charlotte Creech along with Steve Case, the chair of the Startup America Partnership, rang the opening bell at the NYSE in celebration of Startup America's one-year anniversary.
On the one-year anniversary of "Startup America," the White House's sweeping public-private effort to bolster high-growth companies, President Barack Obama has issued a new call to give entrepreneurs a leg up -- but some critics suggest that the effort is all but useless.
The President today sent Congress a new batch of small-business enhancing measures -- collectively called the Startup America Legislative Agenda -- which he hopes will expand tax relief and shore up capital for startups and small businesses that are creating jobs. The roughly $48 billion agenda would also seek to attract and retain foreign-born entrepreneurs and skilled immigrants to the U.S.
"I urge Congress to send me a common-sense bipartisan bill that does even more to expand access to capital and cut taxes for America's entrepreneurs and small businesses," the President said in a statement.
Among other things, Obama would give small businesses that hire or boost wages in 2012 a 10 percent tax credit on new wages. He also called on Congress to permanently double the amount of start-up expenses entrepreneurs can deduct from their taxes to $10,000 from $5,000 and extend to 100 percent the first-year depreciation for the purchase of qualified property placed in service before Jan. 1, 2013.
The President would also expand the Small Business Investment Company program to allow for up to $4 billion in annual support. And he called for what's being referred to as an "IPO on-ramp" program, which would change how current securities laws and regulations are phased in for small companies and startups in their first years after going public. Obama also proposed creating a national framework for entrepreneurs and small businesses to raise capital through "crowdfunding," a type of investment regime that asks for typically small amounts of capital from strangers.
Although a number of the President's proposals have already won bipartisan support in the past, some critics suggest that passage is unlikely in an election year. "Given the opposition to the payroll-tax cut, obviously [the President] doesn't have the cooperation of Congress," says Dean Baker, co-director of the nonpartisan Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He added that this latest announcement is nothing more than a wish list. "Republicans don't want to give him any key victories before the election."
What's more, a number of last year's more prominent measures still haven't won approval -- or they're being held up for one reason or another. The U.S. Small Business Administration's $1 billion early-stage investment fund, which aims to invest in businesses that need between $1 million and $4 million in financing won't begin until later this year. And while the SBA has dedicated $1 billion toward new state funds aimed at helping improve capital access, the agency has so far launched only one Impact Investment Fund in Michigan, providing just $130 million in capital to high-growth businesses.
And at least one of the measures contained in today's legislative agenda was also included in last year's Startup America package and still hasn't received a green light. The permanent elimination of the capital-gains tax on certain small-business stock held for more than five years needs Congressional approval to proceed. A similar capital-gains tax provision was passed in 2010 but expired last year.
"It is the case that there are individual provisions that have moved in one House [of Congress] or another," says Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council. "What the President was doing by putting forward this legislation is to put together a core of small business and capital access programs… into one package to gain bipartisan support."
To be sure, many of last year's Startup America provisions have not only gone forward but are also informing these latest proposals. For instance, the Treasury Department was charged with hosting a conference last year that looked into small businesses' access to capital. And the ideas stemming from that conference helped construct the President's current proposal on easing small and young companies' entrance into the public markets, according to Mary Miller, the Treasury's assistant secretary for financial markets.
Further, the private side of last year's Startup America package seems to be making progress even though the chief private initiative -- dubbed the Startup America Partnership -- launched only in September. In 2011, a number of initiatives rolled out to aid small businesses, including mentorship programs and entrepreneurship courses provided by nonprofits and corporations.
And despite the slow start, the Startup America Partnership -- which is aimed at spotlighting entrepreneurs, helping them connect with resources and supporting regional startup ecosystems -- has attracted nearly 3,000 high-growth firms and more than 50 business partners like Hewlett-Packard and Intuit. To date, those companies have collectively made more than $1.2 billion in in-kind commitments to the program, which is chaired by Steve Case, the co-founder of AOL. And just today, nine new regional chapters have signed on -- bringing the tally to 17.
Entrepreneur Charlotte Creech called her experience with the Startup America Partnership instrumental. As the CEO and co-founder of Combat2Career, a West Simsbury, Conn.-based online service that connects veterans with higher-education opportunities, she reached out to one of the regional divisions of Startup America. The director of the Connecticut program arranged not only for Creech and her business partner to attend vital networking events, but also make connections to high-level government officials. "These connections have been instrumental in helping us spread the word, gain support and establish credibility," says Creech, who has so far raised more than $225,000 in funding to develop the web portal.
Only time will tell how effective the program overall will be for entrepreneurs, Steve Case told Entrepreneur.com from the New York Stock Exchange where he and startup founders participating in the program rang the opening bell yesterday. "I think for the first year, we made great progress."
Source: Entrepreneur.com By: Diana Ransom