What do you get when you put White House staffers, entrepreneurs, small enterprises and government officials in the same room? The answer is among eight Startup America Roundtable discussions happening nation-wide through the month of May.
My startup-friendly hometown of Boulder, Colo., proudly hosted the seventh Startup America Roundtable discussion to get the Obama administration’s goal — to provide Congress a lesson in entrepreneurship using insights from high growth entrepreneurs.
Gathering ideas from high-growth entrepreneurs? No problem. Educating Congress? No small task, says Phil Weiser, senior advisor for Technology and Innovation at the White House Economic Council. According to Weiser, there are wide knowledge and experience gaps between Congressional process and entrepreneurial progress.
Knowledge gaps in the federal government might not be a surprise to entrepreneurs as if you and me, but attending the meeting personally revealed several surprising and business-friendly attitudes among the White House panelists.
To begin with, the White House associates seem perfectly ready to use their two ears and one mouth in proper proportion. After an introductory panel discussion, the attendees shared a large number of solid ideas for improving the entrepreneurial landscape. Ideas included eliminating software patents, better usage of funding and reduced paperwork for early-stage companies, eliminating the tax on sweat equity and visa reform to encourage innovators who come to the U.S. to remain and help domestic startups.
The White House associates took notes to be able to make a report for President Obama, and extended invitations to keep the discussions and the flow of ideas following the roundtable. Don Graves, executive director of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness shared his direct email with everyone in the area, and high growth entrepreneurs everywhere should post additional ideas here.
The White House can be attracting real honest-to-goodness successful entrepreneurs for more focused advice and leadership. Among the participants in Boulder were Congressman Jared Polis, who built successful internet sites before running for congressional office, and venture capitalist Brad Feld, co-founder of TechStars.
The next phase, according to Weiser, is a 120-day evaluation of the ideas and an overview report sent to the President prior to the end of the entire year. If the gathering of ideas could have any significant effect on barriers to high-growth entrepreneurship soon remains debatable among the attendees in Boulder. The optimistic entrepreneurs believe that Startup America is a part of the proper direction even if it’s not the proximate reason behind favorable reforms. The pessimists believe there is just too big much legislative history that could essentially must be disposed of for significant change that occurs.
The main takeaway is to keep in mind that the American system of government depends upon input from smart people outside walls of the machine. Whether or not you’re an optimist or a pessimist in terms of the partnership between government and entrepreneurship, the National government has chosen to pay attention. To help make sure that listening becomes action, just click here to become involved and periodically check out the White House’s progress.
Are you pessimistic or optimistic about the administration’s listening tour and the Startup America initiative ? Leave a comment and tell us.
– John Arnold is president of Aveta Marketing, a marketing agency in Boulder, Colo. <