The federal government plays an important part in setting policies as well as the tone that will influence innovation and entrepreneurship in the US for years to come. As the Biden administration and a new Congress begin their work, what legislation is in the works that might influence America’s lagging startup rates and help to spur innovation?
Much of what’s planned from the Biden administration initially focuses on short-term assistance to shore up small businesses. President Biden’s ‘American Rescue Plan,’ is a new $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill. The bill includes $440 billion for communities and small businesses. Part of that proposal would create a $15 billion grant program aimed at helping over a million of the hardest hit businesses. The proposal also calls for $175 billion in small business lending and investment.
Also of note from the Biden administration is the appointment of Ron Klain as his Chief of Staff. Klain has been a key player in investor and AOL founder Steve Case’s Revolution fund and Rise of the Rest program. Through that role, Klain has valuable knowledge and experience on the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation. As Chief of Staff, Klain could play an important role in helping to drive innovation and entrepreneurship policy during his tenure.
While the small businesses that are the targeted recipients of Biden’s American Rescue Plan are critical to America’s economy, many see the future of America’s economy as an innovation economy, with a need to create more high-growth, innovation-focused businesses, and do so in a more geographically diverse way. A couple of notable proposals in Congress focus on creating the conditions that will enable the creation of more innovative, high-growth businesses that have high-wage jobs.
Endless Frontier Act
The Endless Frontier Act, sponsored by New York Senator Charles Schumer, aims to bolster America’s commitment to research and development with approximately $100 Billion. The act would establish a dozen innovation centers around the country focused on different aspects of innovation through a national science foundation directorate.
According to the bill, “The goals of the directorate shall be to (1) strengthen U.S. leadership in critical technologies through fundamental research in key technology focus areas, such as artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, and advanced manufacturing; (2) enhance U.S. competitiveness in the focus areas by improving education in such areas and attracting more students to such areas; and (3) foster the impact of federally funded research and development through accelerated translation of advances in the focus areas into processes and products that help achieve national goals.”
New Business Preservation Act
The New Business Preservation Act, sponsored by Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, aims to help startups in underserved areas by providing dollar-for-dollar government matches of venture capital funding of investments in scalable startups. The bill would require the Treasury department to “provide certain funds to participating states, which such states shall use to administer specified approved programs that provide equity investment in new businesses. Certain areas with high levels of venture capital activity are excluded from the calculation of funds allocated to a participating state.”
Are you a startup founder, innovator, startup community leader, or ecosystem builder? Do you value entrepreneurship and innovation as critical to the American economy? Then you have a role to play. If we support innovation and entrepreneurship, we need to voice our support to members of congress.
Let’s not stop there. We can also help by showing support for other initiatives that can play an important role in prioritizing entrepreneurship policy at all levels of government in the US.
America’s New Business Plan is a bipartisan plan for policymakers that is focused on creating new jobs and leveling the playing field for startups and small businesses.
Right to Start is a campaign to rebuild the American economy by unleashing entrepreneurial opportunity for everyone.
Whether you’re a startup founder or support entrepreneurs we can help make a difference by supporting proposals that prioritize helping our startup founders succeed. Check out and support America’s New Business Plan and Right to Start. And, let’s make some noise.