Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Obama Administration support for US Entrepreneurs

... a little late to the game but still here!

Last July Obama established the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The group supports his innovation strategy by helping to develop policies that foster entrepreneurship, and by identifying new ways to take great ideas from the lab to the marketplace. One of the members is Holden Thorp, the Chancellor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I got to see him speak at TEDxAshokaU on Feb 25. So exciting to see that he is a member of this team.

That was the main point that I wanted to cover in this post, but I'll breeze through some other things that I pulled up by flipping through the White House website:

Where's the federal money to support entrepreneurs?

* Through the Recovery Act and the Small Business Jobs Act, the SBA was able to work with its lending partners to provide SBA loans to entrepreneurs and small business owners.

* The Export-Import Bank has loans that can help small businesses who are looking to export their goods and services.

* The USDA offers loans to farmers and rural businesses.

* The Department of Transportation helps small businesses who need working capital to finance a contract they’ve won from that agency.

* Energy-related research funding opportunities here.

Speaking of energy, the annual ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit kicked off yesterday, just outside of DC. It showcases the most advanced and revolutionary breakthroughs in energy technology - check out the agenda.

Support for entrepreneurs?

* Via a partnership with the Small Business Administration, the Administration is reinventing the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, one of largest federal innovation programs, to encourage entrepreneurship.

* Creation of the i6 Challenge, a $12 million innovation competition administered by Commerce’s Economic Development Administration in partnership with the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. (Winners were announced last September.)

* A selection of resources specifically for military veterans.

And for students ...

* The deadline for the Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge has been extended to March 11! Details here.

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