I had something else planned for this blog today, but the White House Startup America Partnership makes anything else trivial.
OK, yes, it’s government, federal government no less, and it’s political by definition. I was raised to question authority and mistrust the official story. But even so, here’s why I’m optimistic about this one:
- They have real entrepreneurs involved. AOL co-founder Steve Case is the chairman. Innovative venture capitalist Brad Feld was also featured in the opening ceremony.
- They’re working with real small business information. Kauffman Foundation CEO Carl Schramm is a founding board member. The Small Business Administration (SBA) administrator Karen Mills spoke at the opening. Kauffman and the SBA are definitive information sources on small business in this country.
- Real money is involved: Intel has committed $200 million of “new investment in U.S. companies.” IBM will invest $150 million this year “to fund programs that promote entrepreneurs and new business opportunities in the United States.” HP is committing $4 million for a learning initiative for entrepreneurs, and Facebook is launching Startup Days, a series of 12 to 15 events across the country. (Although to be fair, whether this is new money, that would have been invested regardless, is hard to tell.) The website has a collage of some very impressive logos; they include more than a dozen companies and organizations that have committed to help.
So maybe this time they’ll be able to overcome partisan politics and do something that matters. More capital, better information, more learning, and more support for entrepreneurship. After all, entrepreneurship is contagious, so spreading the “infection” could help. I hope so.