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]