I was interested to find that a US Senator from Kansas gave a speech last week vowing to introduce new legislation that would create an environment for new firms to start, grow and create jobs. Since I am a supporter of "Making Connecticut Work" and embrace the state's efforts to support and utilize Connecticut based businesses, and because creating jobs should be a non-partisan effort I wanted to know more.
In his speech, Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) cited many ideas in the Kaufman Foundation's "Startup Act of 2011". He presented "pro-growth principles" that he said would give job creators the confidence to hire more people. This would be accomplished by removing barriers to entrepreneurial growth and encouraging pro-growth policies at the state and local levels. This sounded encouraging, so I wanted to know more about the Kaufman Foundation and the Startup Act.
The Kaufman Foundation is often referred to as the world's biggest foundation devoted to entrepreneurship. They strive to identify opportunities where their involvement can benefit society in a significant and measurable way. Their founder, Ewing Marion Kaufman, started his own pharmaceutical company (in his basement) in 1950. In his first year he had $36,000 in sales with a net profit of $1,000. When he sold Marion Laboratories to Merrell Dow in 1989, there were $1 billion in sales and 3,400 employees.
The Kaufman Foundation created this "Startup Act" proposal to help the US jump-start the ailing economy and increase job creation by accelerating the growth of startups and young businesses. It was created to focus the attention of both citizens and policymakers on the central role that high-growth startups must play to assure continued US economic strength. Virtually all of the growth in US jobs has been driven by the formation of firms less than five years old. It seems the need to create a strong ecosystem for startups in our country is more paramount than ever.
The Startup Act proposes some interesting changes in government policy. They suggest providing new firms with better access to early-stage financing and providing tax incentives for startup operating capital. Most importantly, they suggest establishing common-sense and cost-effective standards for regulations and policies. I encourage you to learn more about this act and the Kaufman Foundation at www.kaufmanfoundation.org.
It turns out that the Kaufman Foundation is not alone. I found another, relatively new organization called "The Startup America Partnership". They self-describe themselves as "a movement - by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs - to help inspire and celebrate entrepreneurs, their firms and the people that join them". The Partnership is bringing together an alliance of major corporations, funders, service providers, mentors and advisors working together to dramatically increase the prevalence and success of high-growth enterprises in the US.
AOL co-founder Steve Case chairs the partnership and they work with the Case and Kaufman Foundations as founding partners, providing initial funding and strategic guidance. They have just released a list of new corporate commitments from major companies with more than $400 million in products, services, mentorships and funding to help scale and grow new companies.
Steve Case said, "Today's announcement of new commitments highlights the progress we are making to provide entrepreneurs with resources to grow and scale. We are grateful for the companies that have stepped up to help celebrate and accelerate entrepreneurs and we look forward to adding additional partners in the near future." Learn more at www.startupamericapartnership.org.
As a small business owner and a self-starter interested in keeping jobs local and US based - I am grateful for the efforts of the Kaufman Foundation and the Startup America Partnership. The fact that they want to educate individuals and policy makers to concentrate on jump-starting the US economy is a fantastic mission - and I think we should all be mindful of their efforts and energy to help startups and move our economy forward. I hope this is food for thought for everyone who is an entrepreneur, small business owner or individual who wants to make a difference.
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