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Jorge Silva-Puras: Initiative to foster growth, innovation

SBA

Posted: May 20, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 20, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

Though we all know that starting a small business can be a challenging experience, it can also be very rewarding.  You get to be your own boss and make all the decisions related to your business — on your own.

What’s better, at the end of the day, there’s the satisfaction of knowing you have invested in your community and helped your country’s economy move forward.

At the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), we understand that small-businesses drive, the innovation that keep us competitive and, therefore, we aspire to remain competitive, as well.

Through the years, we have reinvented ourselves, we have simplified and we have persevered. With this in mind, President Obama recently announced the Startup America initiative, designed by the White House to celebrate, inspire and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship.

This coordinated public/private effort brings together an alliance of the country’s most innovative entrepreneurs, corporations, universities, foundations and other leaders, working in concert with a wide range of federal agencies to dramatically increase the prevalence and success of America’s entrepreneurs.

The main objectives of Startup America are to increase the number and size of new high-growth firms that are generating economic growth, innovation and quality jobs; celebrate and honor entrepreneurship as a core value of America’s society and a source of competitive advantage; and inspire and empower a greater variety of communities and individuals to build great companies.

Specifically, Startup America, through a wide range of public and private initiatives led by the SBA, is aimed at expanding access to capital for high-growth startups throughout the country.

Startup America plans to expand entrepreneurship education and mentorship programs that empower more Americans not just to get a job, but to create jobs.

It plans to strengthen commercialization of federally-funded research and development, which can generate innovative startups and entirely new industries.

And it also intends to identify and remove unnecessary barriers to high-growth startups; and expand collaborations between large companies and startups.

As part of Startup America, the SBA will allocate over $2 billion under two investment programs — the Impact Investment Fund and the Early-Stage Innovation Fund — facilitating the access to capital in underserved and economically disadvantaged communities.

The funds are for entrepreneurs in emerging industries like clean energy, and for those who are in the initial stage of an innovation project.

Both funds have been built on SBA’s successful Small Business Investment Company program, which operates on a zero-subsidy basis with no added cost to taxpayers.

Small businesses employ more than half of our nation’s workers. By empowering entrepreneurs, and giving them the right tools and resources to control their destinies, we continue feeding the fuel that drives our economy.

For more information on Startup America, visit www.sba.gov/startupamerica.
Jorge Silva-Puras is the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Region 2 administrator, overseeing agency operations in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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