The world has its eyes on America’s entrepreneurial economy, but we need to do more to ensure we’re tapping our full potential.
Entrepreneurs have expressed their frustrations with the business permitting and licensing process, accessing capital and finding mentorship opportunities. The U.S. Small Business Administration is addressing these concerns with such initiatives as Startup in a Day, the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition and 2016 InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge and Summit. These initiatives help Americans harness their talents and ideas to innovate and create good jobs for a thriving 21st century economy. Most importantly, they’ll help maintain our lead as the best place to start and grow businesses.
Startup In a Day: The cumbersome registration process for licenses and permits is a persistent challenge in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Entrepreneurs cite state and local red tape as a chief obstacle to growing their businesses. As part of the Startup in a Day initiative, the SBA announced 28 prizes of $50,000 each to cities and Native American communities to help them streamline the licensing, permitting and other requirements needed to start a business in their areas. The goal was to enable entrepreneurs to apply for everything necessary to begin within one business day.
Growth Accelerator Fund Competition: SBA announced a total award of $4.4 million to 88 startup accelerators, including those that fill geographic gaps and foster entrepreneurship among women and other underrepresented groups. Awardees represent 39 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Eight awards are dedicated to Native American entrepreneurs and small businesses. In Region VIII, a total of eight growth accelerators in Colorado, Utah, South Dakota and Montana received $50,000 cash prizes to help incubate startups to boost the economies and communities around them.
2016 InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge and Summit: Building off the success of the first InnovateHER Women’s Business Challenge earlier this year, SBA is expanding this initiative to more than double the number of local competitions designed to identify products and services that have measurable effects on the lives of women and families, have potential for commercialization and meet needs in the marketplace. Given that only about
3 percent of venture capitalists are women, but women make up more than 80 percent of U.S. purchasing power, this expanded challenge promises to provide a platform for innovations that are often overlooked. As part of this expansion, Microsoft will more than double the prizes awarded. The Small Business Development Center in Pueblo will host the first InnovateHER Region VIII event this fall.
Let’s continue to work together to celebrate, inspire and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout our region and across the nation.