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Empowering America’s Entrepreneurs: Startup America

For the past 50 years at SBA, we've always been proud to serve not only "Main Street" small businesses, but also the small, high-growth firms that drive the lion's share of net new job creation each year in America.  In fact, SBA played a significant role in the early years of firms like Intel, FedEx and Apple.  Today, through a new initiative called Startup America, the entire Administration is joining us in supporting these firms in order to help drive innovation, competitiveness, and good jobs here at home.

What is Startup America?

Startup America is a nationwide effort to increase the number of successful startups and to help promising young companies grow to the next level.  It's a call to action for leaders in business, academia, the investment community, and the nonprofit sector - and entrepreneurs themselves - to do more to support entrepreneurship.  Startup America will push for more investment in promising startups, more mentoring of entrepreneurs, more commercialization of new discoveries, and fewer regulatory barriers to innovation.

One of our first steps will be to infuse up to $1 billion over the next five years in underserved communities and emerging industries through a new Impact Investment Fund.  This fund will be based on SBA's Small Business Investment Company program that just had a record year.

If you watched the State of the Union, you may have heard of a firm that benefited from the SBIC program: Center Rock, Inc., in Berlin, Pennsylvania.  In 2005, an SBIC invested $4 million in Center Rock, which helped the company grow from 20 to 70 employees and shift from distributing to manufacturing of drilling equipment.  Last summer, one of Center Rock's drill bits helped rescue the 33 Chilean miners.

Today, there are thousands more entrepreneurs and small, high-growth firms like Center Rock that are poised to grow and create more good American jobs.  They're ready to "do big things."  If you're one of those entrepreneurs, I encourage you to talk with your local SBA office about how we can help give you the tools you need to succeed... and keep an eye out for new Startup America initiatives being rolled out in the coming weeks and months.

Karen Mills is the Administrator of the Small Business Administration.

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