Startup America: Private Sector Commitments

"Startup America also represents a historic partnership with business leaders, investors, universities, foundations, and non-profits, and we're urging others to join them in this effort. For entrepreneurs speak to what's best about America, and in their drive and innovative spirit -- in their willingness to take a risk on a bold idea -- we can see the future. We can see how America will compete and win in the 21st century global economy."

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In response to the President’s call to action to promote high-growth entrepreneurship across the country, leaders in the private sector are making commitments to educate the next generation of entrepreneurs, connect more entrepreneurs with high-quality mentors, foster more collaborations between startups and large companies, and accelerate research breakthroughs from the lab to the marketplace.

  1. Growing Entrepreneurial Ecosystems for the Long Run
  2. Inspiring the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs
  3. Connecting Mentors and Entrepreneurs
  4. Connecting Corporations and Entrepreneurs
  5. Accelerating Innovation

Growing Entrepreneurial Ecosystems for the Long Run

America’s Top Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders Form New Alliance

Launched at the White House in January 2011, the Startup America Partnership is an independent alliance of top entrepreneurs, investors, corporations, universities, foundations, and other leaders, joining together to grow the entrepreneurial ecosystems that support innovative, high-growth U.S. startups.  The Startup America Partnership has already mobilized more than $1 billion in private-sector commitments to provide products, services, mentorship and funding to scale and grow 100,000 U.S. startups over the next three years.  Get started.


Inspiring the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

NFT Expands Entreprenurship Education for Underserved Youth

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), a nonprofit that provides a first-class entrepreneurship education for at-risk high school students from low-income communities, is launching new programs supporting young entrepreneurs and their teachers. Ernst & Young LLP will honor NFTE youth entrepreneurs at regional Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award galas across the country, bringing important attention to the next generation of young entrepreneurs. Google is sponsoring two new efforts in NFTE’s Bay Area programs: The Flat Classroom Exchange will allow local educators to team-teach the NFTE program in real time and leverage each teacher’s individual expertise, while the Makers Class project will integrate NFTE’s curriculum with invention and engineering lessons, so that Bay Area students learn the valuable connection between thinking creatively and practically through the process of designing a product and bringing it to market.  New Markets Education Partners is providing NFTE with seed capital to launch in 2011 an interactive, online business planning course and social network connecting mentors, teachers, and students, allowing NFTE to reach countless young people in an accessible and fun way and excite them about entrepreneurship and their education. NFTE and the Pearson Foundation are launching Connect, a free online community for teacher collaboration and training focused on entrepreneurship education, fulfilling a commitment made at the launch of Startup America earlier this year.  The Connect community is open to all educators who want to infuse entrepreneurship education best practices into their classroom, with a goal of at least 5,000 registered educators in the next 24 months.  In addition, SuperCamp/Quantum Learning Network, one of the top academic summer camp providers in America, is partnering with NFTE to making its BizCamps widely available to young people across the country. Learn more.

Blackstone Foundation Expands Scale-up of LaunchPad Entrepreneurship Centers to More Universities

Continuing to fulfill its $50 million five-year commitment to foster entrepreneurship, the Blackstone Foundation announces a five-region expansion of Blackstone LaunchPad, a program that makes entrepreneurship a viable career path for college and graduate students as well as alumni.  Created at the University of Miami, LaunchPad is fully integrated into a college’s career center, providing concrete tools and guidance by experienced venture coaches to help aspiring entrepreneurs university-wide transform untested ideas into vital businesses that lead to economic revitalization.  Having already established new LaunchPads in Detroit and Northeast Ohio, the Blackstone Foundation will continue to expand the model to other economically distressed areas. Learn more.

Junior Achievement Announces Entrepreneurial Reinvention

Junior Achievement, the nation’s oldest and largest youth entrepreneurship program, is announcing a historic reinvention of its century-old JA Company Program to be more contemporary and relevant to today’s dynamic entrepreneurial landscape.  Supported by global technology leader Emerson, this program is designed to reach at least 50,000 students over the next five years.

Over 100 Community College Presidents Commit to Entrepreneurial Transformation

The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) is launching the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum, through which community college presidents make specific commitments to advance entrepreneurship and the impact these colleges have on the economic well-being of their communities.  Over 100 community college presidents have signed on at launch, with the goal of at least 600 by the end of 2012, comprising around half of all community colleges in the U.S.

Young Entrepreneur Council Announces New “Gen Y Fund”

In response to the President’s call to action to promote high-growth entrepreneurship across the country, the Young Entrepreneur Council’s new private-sector Gen Y Fund has committed to investing $10 million in as many as 100 Millennial-generation startups, including a promise to pay down any of these young entrepreneurs’ remaining federal student loan obligations over the next three years. Learn more.

Marc Ecko Launches “Artists & Instigators Practicum” to Activate Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

Marc Ecko, an entrepreneur and leader in the fashion and media industry, will launch the first Artists & Instigators (A&I) Practicum at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia.  A&I Practicum's virtual entrepreneurship curriculum teaches practical skills for the 21st century by preparing next generation of entrepreneurs to be "first in line for the hire."  Participating students will build real-world marketing, design, social media, and research skills in startups that are creating the jobs of the future.  Over the next five years, A&I Practicum will invest in 750 startups, offer over 20,000 virtual internships, and provide access to its entrepreneurial curriculum at high schools, community colleges, universities and veteran job retraining programs. Learn more.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Expands Programs for Young Entrepreneurs

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Campaign for Free Enterprise and the National Chamber Foundation will invest more than $1M in K-12, college, and post-graduate entrepreneurial education this year by forming new partnerships with Students in Free Enterprise and the Kairos Society and expanding existing partnerships with Junior Achievement and the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour. Learn more.

Mott Foundation Announces Virtual Incubation Network for America’s Community Colleges

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation will fund an initiative that will create a Virtual Incubation Network at America’s community colleges and led by The American Association of Community Colleges, in partnership with National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship. Virtual incubator models will be tested at ten community college locations in the country.  To increase the capacity of the community college to service their startup business community, sites will participate in learning and implementing best practices, demonstrating ways for mature business leaders and emerging small business entrepreneurs to forge productive, symbiotic relationships that stimulate the growth of new local businesses, including areas with significant economic challenges.  Practices will be captured and shared to encourage broad implementation across the community college network and in collaboration with other partners. Learn more on NACCE websiteLearn more on AACC website.


Connecting Mentors and Entrepreneurs

TechStars Network Will Accelerate Success of Startups Across America

The new TechStars Network launches with 15 independently owned and operated regional organizations that replicate the model pioneered by TechStars, a successful mentorship-driven startup accelerator operating in New York City, Boston, Seattle, and Boulder.  The TechStars Network provides opportunities for networking, sharing best practices, training and ongoing support for members of this regionally diverse network, and includes members from Miami to Seattle and from Nashville to New Orleans.  Over the next three years, the TechStars Network will ensure that 5,000 successful and experienced entrepreneurs and investors will mentor and support 6,000 promising young entrepreneurs, increasing their success rate tenfold and creating 25,000 new jobs by 2015. Learn more.

MassChallenge $1M Startup Competition and Accelerator to Expand Support for Nation's Highest-Growth Startups

New support from The Blackstone Charitable Foundation, the Fallon Management Company, MassMutual, Johnson & Johnson’s Corporate Office of Science & Technology (COSAT), and Microsoft will enable MassChallenge to support over 1,000 entrepreneurs directly in 2011, providing a platform for significant national expansion in 2012 and beyond.  MassChallenge runs a $1M annual startup competition and accelerator to catalyze the launch and success of high-growth, high-impact new businesses. The competition is open to anyone in the world, with any new startup, in any industry.  Every entrant receives training, feedback, PR and networking support via expert volunteers from partner organizations, and the highest-potential startups receive 3 months of intensive mentorship and free services, including premium office space in Boston’s Innovation District, an ambitious initiative that is one of Mayor Tom Menino’s top priorities. Learn more.

Astia Community Expands Support for Women-Led, High-Growth Startups Across America

New commitments from AOL, The Althea Foundation, Fenwick & West, Moss Adams LLP and Silicon Valley Bank, matching prior funding from the Kauffman Foundation, will allow Astia to support twice as many women entrepreneurs.  Astia connects women-led startups to investors, industry leaders, advisors, and service providers, encircling the entrepreneur with a comprehensive value-add network.  Emphasizing companies in high-tech, clean-tech and life sciences, the not-for-profit helps entrepreneurs to hone business skills, access capital, build networks and develop their executive leadership. Learn more.

Rock Health Launches First National Accelerator for Interactive Health Startups

Rock Health, the first seed-stage accelerator for interactive health startups, announces its new five-month incubator program challenging entrepreneurs to address issues in health and wellness through consumer web and mobile technologies. Rock Health will provide early-stage funding, strategic support, mentorship, and office space, bringing together the best minds and talent from the technology, media, gaming and design sectors to enable high-impact healthcare innovation.  Sponsors include Aberdare Ventures, Accel Partners, the California HealthCare Foundation, Fenwick & West, Microsoft, Mohr Davidow Ventures, NEA, Nike and Qualcomm, plus an expansive network of medical advisors led by the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.  Learn more.

SCORE and Wal-Mart Foundation Announce Veteran Fast Launch Initiative

SCORE has created the new Veteran Fast Launch Initiative to help accelerate the ability of veterans and their families to succeed as small business owners.  The new program will be a combined package of services, scholarships and free software (provided by major corporate partners), and SCORE’s mentoring program. Through SCORE’s network of 13,500 volunteer mentors and trainers, Veteran Fast Launch will support 16,000 military veterans and their families and help launch 3,000 new businesses during the first year. The Walmart Foundation is the primary sponsor, and other partners include the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, AVG, Cisco, Constant Contact,, HP,, Microsoft,,, and Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC), which last year reached over 45,000 veterans, service members, and spouses nationally. Learn more.


Connecting Corporations and Entrepreneurs

Intel Commits $200 Million to Investment in U.S. Startups

Last year, Intel launched the Invest in America Alliance to bring together companies to expand investment in American startups.  This year, to advance the goals of Startup America, Intel Capital will commit $200M of new investment in U.S. companies.  Senior Intel leadership will also serve the Startup America Partnership and share best practices from years of successful programs designed to support Intel portfolio companies. Learn more.

IBM Commits $150 Million to Accelerate U.S. Entrepreneurs

IBM will invest $150 million in 2011 to fund programs that promote entrepreneurs and new business opportunities in the United States. The investment will be used to coach and mentor startup businesses throughout the U.S., expand education, build skills and mentorship programs in collaboration with the academic and venture capital communities, and provide skills and business opportunities to the growing community of software developers who collaborate on emerging technologies. Learn more.

HP Expands Global Program to Support U.S. Entrepreneurs

HP is investing more than $4 million in 2011 in HP Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs (HP LIFE), a global program launched in 2007 that uses educational and technology outreach aimed at helping entrepreneurs and small business owners create and grow commercial opportunities.  HP has supported more than 500,000 entrepreneurs worldwide and is expanding HP LIFE to reach more than 100,000 aspiring entrepreneurs in the U.S., in close partnership with Education Development Center Inc. (EDC), a nonprofit organization. Through HP Startup Central, a collaborative ecosystem, the company is also collaborating with technology incubators, investor communities, and entrepreneur support organizations to further fuel innovation and business growth. Learn more.

Facebook Launches Startup Days to Boost Entrepreneurial Businesses Across the Country

Facebook is itself a six year old startup.  As part of Facebook’s ongoing commitment to encourage entrepreneurs, the company will launch Startup Days, a new series of 12 to 15 events around the country designed to provide entrepreneurs with access to expertise, resources and engineers to help accelerate their businesses.  Startup Days will feature training in new technologies, special guest speakers from Facebook, the investment community and other successful engineers and entrepreneur teams, and networking opportunities with other entrepreneurs, academics and venture capitalists.  These events build on Facebook's previous efforts to promote and support startups, including Facebook Platform and Developer Garage, which will be expanded in the coming year along with other initiatives to foster entrepreneurship and innovation. Learn more.


Accelerating Innovation

Deshpande Foundation Will Build New Entrepreneurship Center in New Orleans

In its latest “innovation sandbox” project, comparable to a recent $5 million investment in the cities of Lowell and Lawrence, MA, the Deshpande Foundation will join with The Idea Village and Tulane University to enhance the innovation ecosystem of New Orleans.  These innovation ecosystems will foster large-scale entrepreneurship in these cities, building on the skills and talents of the local community, including local business, higher education and non-profits.

JumpStart America Launched to Accelerate Regional Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

JumpStart Inc., a nationally recognized non-profit venture development organization based in Cleveland, Ohio announces JumpStart America, a new national initiative to build robust public, private and philanthropic partnerships to create or accelerate regionally-based innovation and entrepreneurship programs.  Most importantly, these efforts will accelerate the efforts and economic impact of thousands of new and existing firms across the U.S. and create hundreds of thousands of new private sector jobs in the next four years.  Funders of JumpStart America’s initial work include the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Surdna Foundation, which are supporting a $40 million effort to accelerate regional entrepreneurial ecosystems in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and New York.  Learn more.

National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) Unveils Venture Launch Pathway

NCIIA, in partnership with The Lemelson Foundation, will expand its university entrepreneur-focused grants program, awarding nearly $1 million of grants to entrepreneurs in 23 universities in fourteen states. NCIIA has committed new funds to expand the Myer Memorial Trust’s Venture Launch Pathway at the University of Oregon, enabling significant expansion of its Green Product Design commercialization program. Since 1995, NCIIA has funded more than 370 student teams that have resulted in the launch of 100 companies across the country and an additional $140 million in follow-on capital investment.  NCIIA will provide an additional $10 million to student innovators and entrepreneurs in the next five years. Learn more.

"Innovation Fund America" Announced by American Association of Community Colleges, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and Lorain County Community College

In response to the President's Startup America call to action, the new Innovation Fund America will marshal philanthropic dollars to provide critical early-stage funding for high-tech entrepreneurs across the country.  The program will be modeled after the successful Innovation Fund founded by Lorain County Community College (Elyria, Ohio), which has awarded $4.3 million to 60 companies, rapidly creating 100 new jobs, attracting $41 million in additional private investment, and sponsoring 130 student entrepreneurship internships.  Leveraging its landmark IRS private letter ruling that makes contributions to the fund tax-deductible, Lorain County Community College will help other community colleges replicate this model as part of the American Association of Community College's Virtual Incubator Initiative funded by the Mott Foundation. Learn more.


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