America’s story has been forged in large part by entrepreneurs who have, against great odds, created innovative products and services that have changed the world – and created millions of jobs.
Today, as the Internet and new social technologies continue to explode and create new opportunities, as science and medicine advance at lightning speeds, and as the world grows more interconnected, the opportunities for entrepreneurship abound, but it’s up to a new class of creative risk-takers to unleash the next wave of American innovation.
As a result, I’m honored and thrilled to serve as chair of the Startup America Partnership, announced at the White House today, and co-funded by the Case Foundation and our great friends at the Kauffman Foundation, with Kauffman President and CEO Carl Schramm serving as a founding board member.
Startup America is a White House campaign to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation, and the Partnership represents the private sector’s commitment to the campaign. By creating an alliance of entrepreneurs, funders, CEOs, universities and other leaders, the Partnership represents an exciting opportunity for government and the private sector to work together to dramatically increase the prevalence, scale, and success of innovative, high-growth U.S. firms.
I know from my days at AOL that government can open doors and help spark new ideas. It can convene leaders and influencers from different worlds and put them in the same room to share ideas. It can challenge people and companies to do better, to do more. It can invest in and shape ground breaking research, and then, at its smartest, move aside and let innovation take hold.
But government can’t do it alone. Businesses need to take up the challenge and help to create an ecosystem that nurtures the creation and growth of new enterprises, companies that are “built to last” and will be the cornerstones of tomorrow’s economy.
Working together is the key. The Startup America Partnership will work to promote high-growth entrepreneurship across the country with new initiatives that encourage private sector investment in job-creating startups, accelerate research, and address barriers to success for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
It starts by celebrating entrepreneurship. Last week, when I heard President Obama say, “We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair,” I gave a cheer. As a society, we invest time and energy in what we celebrate. This Partnership is a way to celebrate, recognize and encourage entrepreneurs and innovators as a critical gear in the engine of growth.
I am excited to embark on this journey, working with many of our great public sector leaders who were at the launch today: Commerce Secretary Locke, the new head of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling, and SBA administrator Karen Mills. I am equally excited about the enthusiasm that the private sector has shown with significant commitments from companies like Intel, IBM, Ernst and Young, TechStars and so many others.
But, honestly, what I am most excited about is igniting a spark that propels young entrepreneurs and enterprises everywhere.
So, tell us what you think, share your ideas, and let us know your #startupamerica story on Twitter as well. Together we can create jobs, build the next great companies that bring hope and opportunity to communities, and Startup America!