The Obama Administration today jump-started a key initiative of the President’s national innovation strategy, The Startup America Partnership. The program is a proposed alliance of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, CEOs, university presidents, foundations, and other leaders, “joining together to dramatically increase the prevalence and success of innovative, high-growth U.S. startups.”
And it’s no wonder. Startup businesses add more jobs to the economy than do established corporations, according a Kauffman Foundation Study. Small businesses (which are often startups on their way to becoming larger and sustainable businesses) represent 99% of all businesses in the U.S., employ nearly 120 million people, and capture some $22 trillion in revenue each year. From microchips to the smart phones that use them, entrepreneurs and their ideas are responsible for some of the most significant, market-shifting, high-impact innovations of the last 40 years.
It’s fitting then that the President embraces startups as the drive or the economy. More fitting that the program is designed as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works with government at all levels to advance an agenda for entrepreneurial education, to clear a path for commercialization, and to accelerate startup growth. This isn’t a big government program so much as catalyst of entrepreneurs working to create more entrepreneurs.
The Startup America Partnership will marshal “private resources to scale up a portfolio of proven models at every stage of the innovation funnel, from the first stirrings of entrepreneurial ambition to the market success of a new firm,” the White House statement said.
Guidewire Group couldn’t be happier with that ambition, because it is our vision. We’re less than four weeks away from cutting the ribbon on our new Studio G Business Acceleration workspace and we’ve begun to roll out our programs. Our design goal: to create a global network of entrepreneurs and mentors sharing best practices, leveraging resources, and providing the connections that shift the odds to the favor of startup success.
While the Studio G Business Accelerator is based in Silicon Valley, it is intended as a hub in a national and international alliance of entrepreneurship programs, grafting the entrepreneurial DNA of Silicon Valley into the root stock of communities around the country in order to grow new businesses in place to have the greatest impact of economic revitalization and job creation across America.
Silicon Valley is a rich, complete, well-tuned, and advantaged ecosystem. In many ways, it is far easier to build a business in Silicon Valley than in Witchata. But I was in Kansas last week and I assure you that the entrepreneurs in Witchata and elsewhere around the country are every bit as scrappy, as ambitious, and as capable as any I’ve met in Silicon Valley. By reaching, encouraging, and working with these entrepreneurs where they are, we can build a better and more competitive America, and arguably a more competitive Silicon Valley.
That’s way programs like the Startup America Partnership and, dare I say it, Guidewire Group’s Studio G are so important. They have the potential to tap the vital human resource of energy and innovation and bring it to fruition in the parts of the country that need it most.
As we work to build a global Innovation Ecosystem, I hope you’ll join me in supporting the entrepreneurs who are starting the next great American companies.