How to “Startup America”

By Guest Contributor
February 23, 2011

– Daniel Isenberg is Professor of Management Practice at Babson Global and founding executive director of the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project. Dr. Isenberg has been an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, consultant, and educator, having taught at Harvard, Columbia, Technion, INSEAD, and Reykjavik. –

The White House recently convened an unprecedented consortium of public and private entities to announce the launch of Startup America. The purpose was to galvanize a coordinated effort to define and implement President Obama’s vision and strategy to foster entrepreneurship and provide more push to the United States’ economic development.

Startup America has a lot going for it: a broad group of influential entrepreneurship stakeholders, real entrepreneurs at the heart of the dialogue, a sincerely committed president and an independent convening S.W.A.T. team who are making entrepreneurship a top priority and a powerful, well-connected, smart board with a smart-looking interim CEO. In my book, Startup America has gotten the basics right; I don’t take this lightly – my observations of more than two dozen countries is that very few have done even this.

But like most entrepreneurial ventures driven by ambition and a strong sense of purpose, this one has a very long way to go. As plan and reality diverge, like most startups, Startup America will need to revise its business model, change or enhance its leadership, and deal with disappointments, and an ever-changing landscape.

So the launch on January 31, 2011 was just the opening shot: to turn this initiative into real results, a lot more has to happen. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Be crystal clear about Startup America’s objectives. For every 100,000 or so residents, each major city (or region) should be generating annually, one new high-aspiration venture with at least one real, paying customer. This measurable goal will focus attention and galvanize stakeholders into action.
  2. Translate Startup America into hyper-local activities. Cities and counties should become the foci of intense activity, not the nation. Entrepreneurship is hyper-local in that all “species” of entrepreneurs gather around extremely small “watering holes” to draw from the resources (people, ideas, capital, customers) they need to start up and grow. One size does not fit all, so you need to help each locale cultivate the entrepreneurial culture that best fits it.
  3. Infuse Startup America with a global perspective. Entrepreneurs don’t need to help America “beat” China or Brazil; they need to partner with Chinese and Brazilian entrepreneurs to sell to customers everywhere. To be more global, we must also encourage entrepreneur immigrants; the Startup Visa proposal is only a drop in the bucket.
  4. Publish a “sell-by” date for Startup America. I propose December 31, 2015, which gives us almost five years for measurable results. A sell-by date will force the Startup America team to focus on achieving self-sustaining results. Success breeds success, and a powerful way of knowing if a program is successful, is to remove the props and see if it stands on its own.
  5. Encourage financial innovation. We need innovative financing models for the startup sector, because debt or equity providers support just a tiny, select minority. We must help innovative entrepreneurs develop profitable financing mechanisms targeted to a much broader base of deserving startups.
  6. Have a map of the entrepreneurship ecosystem. Without a map, we won’t know if we are headed in the right direction. Here is a simple version of an entrepreneurship ecosystem map with 13 elements, all of which must eventually exist for Startup America to achieve its goals. Encourage and empower each of the hyper-local initiatives to cultivate all 13 elements of their own entrepreneurship ecosystem, in ways that are unique to them.

These principles, and others, will help translate the great intention of the entrepreneurship stakeholders you have brought together, and to drive the Startup America to actually achieve concrete results.

2 comments

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We couldn’t agree more. This point stands out. Publish a “sell-by” date for Startup America. I propose December 31, 2015, which gives us almost five years for measurable results. A sell-by date will force the Startup America team to focus on achieving self-sustaining results. Success breeds success, and a powerful way of knowing if a program is successful, is to remove the props and see if it stands on its own.

Plus, we would like to use the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem image, with credit and link of course, on our blog.

http://www.altusalliance.com/blog/2011/0 2/startup-america-ventures-need-sales-he lp/

Posted by Altus | Report as abusive

Daniel,
You said,

“Encourage financial innovation. We need innovative financing models for the startup sector, because debt or equity providers support just a tiny, select minority. We must help innovative entrepreneurs develop profitable financing mechanisms targeted to a much broader base of deserving startups”

We couldn’t agree more so we built it!

If you want to Startup America here is how you do it. 

First you need to be able to see who the entrepreneurs are, where they are located, and how much capital they need to launch and succeed, so we built a digital map showcasing Startups Across America.http://startupsacrossamerica.com   Now anyone launching a new company in the USA can stake their claim for a piece of the American Dream on the map and broadcast their funding needs to a nation of possible investors. The number of start-ups and the funding dollars they are trying to raise is totaled by state and showcased on the map so everyone can see where the opportunities are and the money that is needed. We can no longer wait for or depend on conventional forms of capitalization, i.e. small business loans, angel and venture capital to provide access to capital to get us out of the economic crisis. Last year the number of applicants who got venture or angel capital was shockingly low, and too many great ideas, products and inventions never saw the light of day. We must provide another option. To achieve a more level playing field for access to capital, wealthy individuals need to take a more active role investing in entrepreneurship and innovation to help rebuild the American economy. But they can’t do that if they don’t know where the need is, where the pioneers are, and how much capital entrepreneurs need to launch and succeed. And we need to remove certain regulatory roadblocks that for too long have limited access to investment. We hope entrepreneurs everywhere will join our campaign and encourage startups to sign up onto the map as a first step in a new process to create an expanded flow of investment capital and a new way of clearly seeing the promising Startups Across America.

Second part:

So that everyone can get down to business  together and fully understand the business model that their funding is needed ,we created the Funding Roadmap 
http://fundingroadmap.com
on the cloud  accessible from a smart phone, which provides detailed step-by-step questions to which  investors and lenders expect answers, and guides entrepreneurs  through a comprehensive pre-qualification and reporting process to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their particular funding request well ahead of time. Multiple-choice selections are designed to educate applicants to take the steps necessary to correct any deficiencies before their presentation. The platform aids startups to mid-sized business owners through the process of preparing a Funding request document to present to  lenders and investors across the state or across the country to “get funded faster (and not waste everyone’s time when they are not prepared or provide boiler plate business plans that never get read,) and provides a polished online presentation that stands out for review by lenders, VCs and angels, as well as friends and family investors. Along with its comprehensive profile of a proposed business, Funding Roadmap features a streaming video feature for elevator pitches. The presentations are available 24 / 7 on-the-cloud to potential lenders, investors and partners, and can be kept current for everyday guidance and ongoing funding needs. Users can save months of time, money, and frustration while increasing their chances of getting funded faster.
Ruth E Hedges CEO

Posted by mapteam | Report as abusive