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Facebook, Intel, IBM Join White House in Startup Investment Campaign

President Obama's Startup America Partnership, announced today, follows a State of the Union address focused on innovation.

President Obama

Fresh on the heels of his innovation-focused State of the Union address, today President Obama announced his Startup America Partnership, a campaign to invest in the country's startup entrepreneurs and create thousands of jobs. Facebook, Intel, TECHStars, and others are all pledging to support the initiative—IBM has already announced a $150 million pledge.

Much of the criticism of Obama, following his SOTU Speech, was about concrete plans regarding how to boost innovation and entrepreneurship. Author and economist Dambisa Moyo, for one, said the main questions are about implementation of proposed policies. Now, it seems that critics are getting their answer with the Startup America Partnership.

AOL co-founder Steve Case will lead the new campaign and Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, will serve on the board of what will be a private-sector led initiative, according to Bloomberg.

TechStars—mentors and seed investors of Zynga, Brightkite, and oneforty, among others—has launched a national startup accelerator network. The TechStars Network will connect entrepreneurs and startup programs from across the U.S. The goal is to have 5,000 established entrepreneurs mentoring 6,000 startup entrepreneurs in order to create 25,000 new jobs by 2015.

"We're trying to support high growth companies, which are different from small businesses," TechStars CEO David Cohen tells Fast Company. "Mentorship is often the key missing element to get going."

The Small Business Administration is also expected to announce today that investments of $2 billion will be used to match investments made by the private sector in startups over the next five years.

And IBM, who already has in place its Global Entrepreneur initiative, will focus heavily on coaching, education, and skills training with its new investment.

"The investment will help us greatly expand the work we're doing to build business skills and provide market opportunities for the most innovative new companies in the country," said James Corgel, General Manager, IBM Developer and Academic Relations. "These start-ups are tackling some of the country's most pressing challenges and opportunities."

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[Photo by Zee M. Kane]

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  • Andrew W

    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.

  • DavidCohen

    TechStars is not an investor in Zynga, however, Brad Feld who is a co-founder of TechStars is an investor in Zynga though his fund, Foundry Group.