On Friday, President Obama will speak at the 7th annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), bringing together over 700 entrepreneurs from every corner of the globe—and from all across America. Entrepreneurship is a fundamental American value, and it is also a force that has the ability to unlock opportunity for people globally. GES is a reflection of the U.S. Government’s commitment to utilizing entrepreneurship as a foundation tool to build more economically prosperous, secure, and globally connected communities around the world.
With the eyes of the world on Silicon Valley, today the Obama Administration is announcing new commitments to advance inclusive entrepreneurship and innovation here at home. These announcements build on a week where the Administration has highlighted a powerful record of progress in fueling American innovation over the last seven and a half years and announcing new steps to build on those efforts—including supporting advanced manufacturing and making, publishing a new rule to enable non-recreational use of unmanned aircraft, and supporting next-generation technologies.
Today’s announcements include:
- Major expansion of the Small Business Administration’s Startup in a Day initiative to nearly 100 U.S. cities and communities. This effort helps streamline licensing, permitting, and other requirements needed to start a business in their community, with the goal of enabling entrepreneurs to apply for everything necessary to begin within 24 hours.
- Three Federal agencies will adopt new expansions of the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) entrepreneurship-training program. Over 800 teams have completed the curriculum, from 192 universities in 44 states, resulting in the creation of over 320 companies.
- Over 30 companies are joining a new, industry-led Tech Inclusion Pledge. As part of the pledge, companies are committing to take concrete action to make the technology workforce at each of their companies more representative of the American people.
America’s spirit of innovation is a major reason why the U.S. economy is the strongest and most durable in the world, and it has inspired admiration from across the globe for generations. Since the beginning of his Administration, President Obama has worked to strengthen our innovation advantage—through investments and reforms to drive technological and scientific breakthroughs that will power our economy and further enhance America’s leadership in the industries of the future.
Today’s announcements build on the first-ever White House Demo Day, held in August 2015, which focused on inclusive entrepreneurship and welcomed startup founders from diverse walks of life to demonstrate their innovations at the White House. Also, in response to the Administration’s efforts (PDF 360 KB) to inspire a diverse generation of innovators, the #SeeHer initiative to improve equal representation of women and girls in media was announced at last week’s White House United State of Women Summit.
While America’s entrepreneurial economy is the envy of the world, there is still much work to do to ensure that the United States is tapping the full entrepreneurial potential of Americans, so that individuals from all walks of life have a straight shot at success.
For example, just three percent of America’s venture capital-backed startups are led by women, and only around one percent are led by African-Americans. Female entrepreneurs start companies with 50 percent less capital than male entrepreneurs, and only about four percent of U.S.-based venture capital investors are women. Capital for innovative startups is predominantly available in only a handful of large cities, making high-growth business creation a challenge in other locations.
A new independent report released today by Intel Corporation and Dalberg Global Development Advisors quantifies the economic impact of improving diversity in the tech sector, estimating that an additional $470 to $570 billion in new value for the U.S. technology industry could be generated through full representation of ethic and gender diversity.
Details on the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit
Following his historic 2009 Cairo speech, President Obama elevated innovation and entrepreneurship in the U.S. global engagement agenda and hosted the first GES at the White House in 2010. Over the past 6 years, the United States has been a leader in catalyzing entrepreneurship globally by developing innovative ecosystems; advocating for stronger business climates through rule of law and transparent business conduct; promoting entrepreneurship for all, including women, youth, and marginalized communities; and mobilizing the private sector to expand impact.
GES 2016 brings together entrepreneurs and investors from across the world for dynamic, outcome-oriented sessions; mentoring; and opportunities to showcase their work. GES has become a preeminent annual gathering that provides emerging entrepreneurs with exceptional networking, insight, and investment opportunities. This year’s GES, held in the heart of Silicon Valley, also includes diverse entrepreneurs from every corner of America.
New Steps Being Announced by the Administration Today
Today, the White House is announcing steps by the Administration to advance inclusive entrepreneurship and to make the innovation economy more accessible to all Americans. These actions build on prior efforts to expand the technology-talent pipeline, cut red tape, and accelerate research discoveries from the lab to the marketplace. New actions include:
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service is announcing that later this year, it will provide up to $10 million in Conservation Innovation Grants to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative approaches and technologies for conservation on agricultural lands. The funding announcement will request proposals, including projects by innovative entrepreneurs, focusing on data analytics for conservation, precision conservation, and pay-for-success models to stimulate conservation adoption.
The Department of Energy (DOE) is announcing nearly $16 million in funding to help DOE’s National Laboratories and the private sector move promising energy technologies to the marketplace. This first Department-wide round of Technology Commercialization Fund selections will support 12 national labs partnering with 52 private-sector partners, including startups all across the country, from Alaska to Florida.
The Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, first launched in 2011 by the National Science Foundation (NSF), provides entrepreneurship training for teams of scientists and engineers, through an intensive curriculum focused on discovering a truly demand-driven path from their lab work to a marketable product. Over 800 teams have completed the curriculum, from 192 universities in 44 states, resulting in the creation of over 320 companies that have collectively raised more than $83 million in follow-on funding. Building on the 10 existing I-Corps partnerships between NSF and other Federal agencies, new expansions announced today include:
- The National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is piloting the SPeeding Research-tested INTerventions (SPRINT) program to offer the “Lean Startup” entrepreneurial curriculum to NCI-funded scientists with active research grants that are focused on tools to advance cancer prevention and control.
- The National Security Agency (NSA) is working to embed the I-Corps curriculum within the National Cryptologic School, and will also participate in Stanford University’s Hacking for Defense (H4D) pilot program.
- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will provide I-Corps entrepreneurship training for the first time next year to NASA-funded small businesses through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.
- NSF will pilot a “Phase 0 SBIR” I-Corps program this year for non-academic teams to help them determine the commercial readiness of their technology concept. Next year, NSF will expand a “Phase 1 SBIR” I-Corps program for NSF-funded small businesses. To advance inclusive entrepreneurship, NSF will provide supplementary funding to its I-Corps partner colleges and universities to increase engagement of underrepresented populations in high-tech entrepreneurship and commercialization.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is working to remove barriers to entrepreneurship across the country. This includes:
- Expanding the Startup in a Day Initiative. The President announcedStartup in a Day in June 2015, when he made a public call to action for cities and Native American communities throughout the country to reduce red tape and make it easier for entrepreneurs to get started. At the time of the announcement, 11 mayors took a public pledge to develop online tools that let entrepreneurs discover and apply—in less than a day—for local, State, and Federal requirements needed to start a business. As of today, nearly 100 mayors have taken this pledge, which has the potential to positively affect more than 35 million Americans.
- Best-in-Class Entrepreneurship Education for All. To make the latest evidence-based entrepreneurship training available to America’s “Main Street” entrepreneurs and small businesses at scale, the SBA is announcing the development of a new, state-of-the-art online training curriculum with a goal of training 1 million small business owners by 2020. The comprehensive new set of massive open online courses (MOOCs) will bring a curriculum developed by leading academics and practitioners to this audience, coupled with built-in student evaluation to ensure students actually gain critical knowledge and skills. The courses will be made available later this year.
- Empowering A Next Generation of Business Leaders. SBA will join with Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) to provide a diverse group of Fellows, including African American, Latino, and Native American college students and young professionals, with a professional playbook, one-on-one coaching, and door-opening relationships that will accelerate their career trajectories and provide the skills, tools, and networks to maximize their career potential while learning about entrepreneurship and personal finance. SBA will make available its resources to help Fellows interested in entrepreneurship. By 2020, MLT commits to develop an additional 3,000 Fellows prepared to navigate business careers.
New Commitments to Tap America’s Full Entrepreneurial Potential and Promote Diversity in the Technology Sector
Today, companies, universities, non-profits, and other organizations are announcing new actions to foster inclusive entrepreneurship and enhance diversity throughout the Nation’s innovation economy.
Over 30 Companies Announce a New Tech Inclusion Pledge. Last summer President Obama hosted the first-ever White House Demo Day, where several companies made individual commitments to advance inclusive entrepreneurship and diversify their workforces. Today, as the eyes of the world are on Silicon Valley for the President’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit, senior leadership at over 30 companies of all sizes are making a commitment to fuel American innovation and economic growth by increasing the diversity of their technology workforce. Companies participating in this industry-led pledge include:
- Color Genomics
- Distil Networks
- Illuminate Education
- Return Path
These inaugural signatories are resolving to take action to make the technology workforce at each of their companies fully representative of the American people, as soon as possible. To view the full Tech Inclusion Pledge, click HERE.
To facilitate additional pledge commitments and help companies meet those commitments, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and CODE2040 are today launching a website with free research-based implementation resources.
In the coming months, the White House will work to bring companies together to discuss long-term strategies for building a more inclusive tech workforce and expanding the number of companies making concrete progress over time, including by fostering a community of practice driven by research-based measures.
Many additional companies, nonprofits, universities, and others around the country are announcing new actions to promote inclusive entrepreneurship, in response to the President’s call to action:
- 500 Startups is announcing a $25 million dollar microfund to invest in over 200 startups led by black and Latino tech entrepreneurs, providing the access to capital, networks, and expertise to grow their businesses.
- BUILD is expanding its Youth Entrepreneurship Program to the Nation’s largest school districts—New York City and Los Angeles—doubling the number of students it serves. BUILD, the Redwood City, California-based experiential-learning program for high school students in under-resourced communities, uses entrepreneurship to engage students and give them the 21st century skills needed to succeed in college and career.
- CalSTRS, an educator-only pension fund is expanding its diversity initiative beyond the boardroom and will engage portfolio companies about building diverse pipelines of their most valuable resource, their human capital. This new initiative will focus on financial and technology companies to improve the diversity of their workforce. The goal is to increase the pipeline of diverse executives that can eventually feed into the candidate selection of corporate boards.
- The Case Foundation is launching a 2-year, $1 million commitment to advancing inclusive entrepreneurship. By increasing access to social and financial capital for diverse entrepreneurs, the Foundation seeks to increase the number of women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color who are building and scaling successful businesses. To kick off this work, the Foundation is partnering with JumpStart, Inc., to launch a $10 million seed capital Focus Fund for diverse entrepreneurs, which will invest in technology companies that are female- or minority-owned or led with a focus on the African-American and Latino communities.
- Engineering deans from 170 universities are committing to building a more-representative student talent pipeline. Building on the commitments made at White House Demo Day in 2015, today, engineering deans from around the country representing more than 50 percent of all U.S. engineering schools (both undergraduate and graduate institutions) signed a letter pledging actions that promise to increase diversity among engineering students. These actions include developing concrete diversity plans for their engineering programs, with input from national organizations such as the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and the Society of Women Engineers.
- Ten companies are forming a new network to partner with startups. Today the Global Accelerator Network (GAN) is launching a corporate Partner Network, in order to develop and share best practices among corporations working to foster the formation and scale-up of new companies across the country and the world. The initial Partner Network members include companies such as IBM, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Neustar, Hubspot, Keen.io, and SendgridPartner Network members will work together to develop a shared understanding of the needs of entrepreneurs, small businesses, and startup ecosystems, and develop a set of best practices among corporations interested in working with startups to help them grow.
- The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), a state-wide pension plan investing $34 billion on behalf of nearly 3,000 employers and 278,000 plan participants, is directly committing $220 million to minority- and female-owned private markets managers, representing about 58 percent of total private markets commitments. IMRF will allocate an additional $500 million to minority managers over the next 2 years.
- The “Rise of the Rest” tour will visit cities in the Southwest, Mountain West, and Northwest this fall. This fifth bus tour will showcase startups and growing entrepreneurial communities across the United States. Joined by partners Google for Entrepreneurs, Salesforce for Startups, Engine, Startup Grind, Tech.co, and Village Capital, the Rise of the Rest bus, which has been through 19 cities in the past 2 years, will visit hotbeds of entrepreneurial activity across the country. Each stop will feature elected officials, business leaders, community builders, and entrepreneurs from the local ecosystem and conclude with a $100,000 pitch competition.
- The Toigo Foundation, with new support from W.K. Kellogg Foundation, is committing to reach and support minority MBA candidates ready to become entrepreneurs in the finance sector. Toigo will provide these students with a network of contacts, one-on-one career guidance, leadership training, and a merit award. Toigo will also provide these students a mechanism for learning and exchange, as well as a platform to apply for funding to support critical startup costs.