Tremendous opportunity exists for innovators across the U.S. to transform and improve the most basic ways we live, work and play. The convergence of accessible, affordable technologies and the development of new resources for entrepreneurs has made it easier than ever to start a company. High-growth startups are driving change across all sectors of the economy, sparking new life within entrenched industries such as transportation, biotechnology, healthcare and hospitality and, in some cases, spurring the growth of new industries.
On August 5th, Members of Congress will participate in Startup Day Across America to connect with the entrepreneurs that represent the backbone of the nation’s innovation ecosystem. The Congressional Caucus on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 1776, Engine Advocacy and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) have worked together to organize the 2nd Annual Startup Day to showcase entrepreneurship through a series of nationwide events and to ensure the voices of the newest, youngest companies are heard.
Today, startups are able to take root anywhere thanks to the entrepreneurial ecosystems developing in America’s rural and urban communities. The rise of incubators, accelerators, crowdfunding, and pitch sessions that work in tandem with universities, angel investors and the venture capital community provide the mentorship, resources and capital that enable companies across America to go from the idea-stage to growth-stage.
For the first time in 2012 and again in 2013, high-growth startups in 48 states and D.C. received venture capital funding. This geographic diversity demonstrates that startup ecosystems in small- and mid-sized cities from Richmond, VA to Kansas City, KS are succeeding in attracting talent and driving economic growth, factors that have an impact well beyond the region where companies are founded.
Startups create the most value for the economy when they are able to enter the public markets. By this measure, 2013 was the most successful year for high-growth companies in the past five years, when 81 venture-backed startups went public. To maintain the momentum for startups to go public, a process which often takes eight to ten years and sees one-third of companies fail in the process, Members of Congress must engage with entrepreneurs and understand the challenges that prevent startups from growing.
The cycle of innovation will only continue if Members of Congress work with entrepreneurs, business leaders, professors, researchers and community leaders to forge policies that support the growth of new ideas everywhere.
With the passage of the JOBS Act in 2012, the White House, Congress, the venture capital community, and entrepreneurs came together to create new ways for startups to receive capital through crowdfunding. In addition, the JOBS Act successfully spurred the entrance of more companies to the public markets through regulatory relief for small and young companies.
Together, we have continued to work on policy measures that drive innovation; to propel the commercialization of university research, improve the efficacy of existing regulations that can hinder innovation, and to create new visa categories for foreign-born entrepreneurs who come to the U.S. to build businesses and earn degrees from American universities.
The U.S. will only remain the most innovative country in the world if we ensure regulatory predictability, enact policies that encourage capital formation, attract a qualified workforce, and provide a visible pathway to success for innovators. Otherwise, we risk losing entrepreneurs and capital to competitors abroad.
The decisions made in Washington, DC have a huge impact on entrepreneurs and the ability of young companies to grow and create jobs. We encourage all Members of Congress to participate in Startup Day this August to meet local entrepreneurs who are building early-stage companies and driving change in districts across the country.
Participate in Startup Day on Twitter using #StartupDay2014 and learn more by visiting Startup Day Across America.