Startup America Partnership: Will It Get Business Done Better?

Today, The White House announced the creation of the Startup America Partnership, a new public-private partnership around entrepreneurship that is part of President Obama's strategy to create more quality US-based jobs.

The Partnership will be receiving funding from the Federal Government, the Case Foundation, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. In addition, the Partnership has also received the support of a variety of organizations and firms that have made commitments to boost job creation through a variety of exciting entrepreneurship-based initiatives. These initiatives are articulated around 3 specific goals:  Education, Acceleration and Scale, as well as Commercialization.

In the area of Education, the Partnership will focus on initiatives designed to promote entrepreneurship education among low-income youth and entrepreneurship education in higher education. To promote entrepreneurship among low-income youth, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) will facilitate the creation or expansion of programs designed to (1) increase entrepreneurship among young people, and (2) support entrepreneurship teachers. For instance, NFTE will set up online learning and social media platforms to scale the distribution of their curriculum and enable young entrepreneurs to connect with mentors and entrepreneurship teachers. To do so, NFTE will partner with New Markets Education Partners, the Pearson Foundation, and Google. Furthermore, to increase the visibility of their young entrepreneurs, Ernst & Young has committed to honor NFTE youth entrepreneurs at the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award® galas. To promote entrepreneurship in higher education, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation has committed $5M to replicated its LaunchPad Program. Created by the University of Miami and piloted in two Detroit colleges, the LaunchPad will be replicated in 5 distressed US regions over the next five years.

In the areas of acceleration and scale, as well as commercialization, corporate support will be instrumental in providing funding, resources, and best practices. For example, senior leaders from Intel Capital will share best practices from their experiences supporting Intel portfolio companies. Furthermore, Intel Capital has committed $200M of new investment in U.S. companies. Similarly, IBM has committed $150M in investments to promote new business opportunities and entrepreneurship in the US. Through their HP LIFE initiative dedicated to leveraging technology and education to support economic growth through entrepreneurship, HP will invest $4M to support entrepreneurs and small business owners create and grow businesses. In addition, Facebook will launch Startup Days, which will consist in up to 15 events across the US that will provide entrepreneurs with access to engineers, best practices, and advice to launch and grow businesses.

Although it is set up as an independent entity, the Startup America Partnership will closely collaborate with the Startup America Initiative. The Startup America Initiative is a governmental initiative aiming at launching new initiatives and incentives to encourage the private sector to invest in new startups. The Startup America Partnership will be led by Steve Case, chairman of the Case Foundation and co-founder of AOL.

The lion share of job creation over the past 2 years have been occurring through new and small businesses.  Therefore, it is likely that investing in new businesses and entrepreneurship might lead to an acceleration of job growth. Of course, one question remains that only time will answer: Will this initiative only breed 'traditional' businesses, or will it be instrumental in accelerating the creation of organizations that get business done better?  Chime in with your predictions!

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