Mike Martin from eCommerce Times wrote an article about President Obama’s new Start up America initiative that examined the program’s impact. And at the same time, Steve Case was out stumping in BusinessWeek about its not just “start ups” but “speed ups”.
eCommerce Times: Working with start up companies, what do you think of this initiative? Is it needed? Or is it a gimmick?
Jennifer Hicks: As a niche global PR agency that works with start ups around the world, we think it is a great idea. In many ways, Europe has been doing this on a country by country level with their incubator programs through the governments with small seed funds that provide both cash and resources. Silicon Valley is purely driven by the next big thing, but this program is a good way to continue to foster and grow the entrepreneurial spirit not just with start ups but with small companies with revenue that also need to push into regional or international markets.
The more global a company can be from birth the better. Finland is a great example of a country that despite its small GDP, puts a large amount funding, both private and public, into innovation programs for start ups or small companies across ICT, Clean tech, Life Sciences and eHealth.
ECT: Lots of tech giants have signed on. What might that say about it?
JH: I think that tech giants today are struggling to find their relevance with innovation. I mean to say that the standard methodology is to just acquire and absorb, but what if they have the opportunity to foster and incubate without a tie back to their own company? I think the world is global and tech giants still search for that next big thing. Microsoft invested a lot in outside vendors to bring Kinect to life and that investment for the first Kinect boxes came from a start up out of Israel that supplied the natural interface technology. So I think that in many ways, they need the agility and innovative thinking that comes out of start ups.
ECT: The Obama Administration has been criticized for being unfriendly to business, and for having too few business people in its ranks. Do you think this foundation will help raise awareness — a key public relations endeavor — in the Administration about the needs and importance of entrepreneurship?
JH: All change requires time, but I do think that any initiative a government or administration can take to back innovation will only help the country in the long term. When you think about change in terms of technology, we should be looking at investment into technology that feeds the sectors most likely to affect us in the long run – health, clean tech, services – and the application of innovation into those markets will, over time, affect citizens and how they interact with their environment, their health care providers and the businesses they interact with.
- The White House Partners With Steve Case, Facebook, Intel, IBM And Others To Jumpstart Entrepreneurship (techcrunch.com)
- Obama Administration Launches Entrepreneur Group (dailyfinance.com)
- AOL Founder to Lead White House Small Business Effort (thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Startup America: Will Obama’s New Initiative Live Up To Its Name? (huffingtonpost.com)