Se è vero che quella nordamericana non è, propriamente, una nazione nota per la capacità di "dire quel che fa", di certo è una nazione famosa per il sapere "fare quel che dice". Giusto o sbagliato che sia, una volta pronunciato un verdetto, gli statunitensi non sono avvezzi ai passi indietro, alle smentite, ai repentini cambiamenti di strategia, ed ecco che, a pochi giorni dal celebre discorso sullo Stato dell'Unione pronunciato da Barack Obama, le parole del presidente trovano un immediato riscontro pratico nel lancio dell'iniziativa "Startup America", un gioco di parole che intende invitare gli USA a "rialzarsi" e nel contempo suggerisce lo scopo finale del progetto: rilanciare l'impresa e, soprattutto, le nuove imprese. Quelle capaci di scatenare "un’ondata di innovazione" e di creare milioni di posti di lavoro, proprio come Obama aveva detto nel suo discorso.
"Noi siamo la nazione che ha messo le automobili sulle strade e i computer negli uffici" aveva detto il presidente "la nazione di Edison e dei fratelli Wright; di Google e Facebook. In America, l’innovazione non cambia semplicemente le nostre vite. Fa parte di noi, è così che viviamo" Ed ecco che, da subito, si riparte proprio da qui, dall'innovazione. L'iniziativa Startup America si basa sull'istituzione di un fondo di 2 miliardi di dollari che, da qui a 5 anni, saranno destinanti al finanziamento di progetti d'impresa meritevoli di fiducia e attenzione. A dirigere le operazioni c'è il navigatissimo Steve Case, co-fondatore di Aol, il più importante provider di servizi Internet al mondo. Ma alla base del progetto non c'è solo il sostegno all'innovazione, il governo di Washington, infatti, vuole fare un ulteriore passo verso la nascente imprenditoria, abolendo le tasse per il capital gain sugli investimenti chiave delle piccole imprese e rendendo più rapida la concessione dei brevetti alle nuove aziende. L'iniziativa, in ogni caso, sarà gestita privatamente, grazie al sostegno di alcune importanti compagnie come Facebook, Interlm e Tech Stars.
Naturalmente, non mancano le critiche. La schiera dei perplessi è piuttosto ampia e punta il dito sul fatto che se è vero che ogni progetto di nuova impresa non può prescindere da Internet, è anche vero che le condizioni del web negli USA sono piuttosto peculiari. La rete, infatti, è controllate da poche, gigantesche compagnie che continuano ad appropriarsi dei dati personali degli utenti. In questa situazione, dicono gli scettici, si può dar vita a tutte le tech company che si vuole, contribuendo con lauti finanziamenti al loro lancio, ma questo significherà davvero poco finché le chiavi del web saranno nelle mani pochi e specifici soggetti privati.
Comunque, affinché possiate farvi un'idea chiara ed esaustiva in merito all'iniziativa in questione, vi proponiamo il comunicato stampa, integrale, con cui la Casa Bianca ha annunciato il lancio del progetto:
White House Announces Startup America Partnership to Foster Innovative, High-Growth Firms in United States
Entrepreneur Steve Case to Chair new alliance; Kauffman Foundation CEO Carl Schramm named founding board member
Commitments secured from major corporations to accelerate entrepreneurship
KANSAS CITY, Mo. and WASHINGTON, DC – Today, as part of President Obama’s national strategy to stimulate economic growth and the creation of quality jobs, the White House announced the launch of the Startup America Partnership. Chaired by Steve Case, co-founder of AOL, CEO of Revolution LLC and chairman of the Case Foundation, the Partnership will receive launch funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Case Foundation, and act as an independent private-sector alliance intended to dramatically increase the development, prevalence and success of innovative, high-growth U.S. firms. Carl Schramm, CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, will serve as a founding board member of the effort.
The Startup America Partnership will work closely with the White House to advance the goals of its Startup America initiative. The Partnership will bring together top entrepreneurs, start-up firm funders, CEOs, university presidents, foundations, and other leaders to help entrepreneurial companies start or grow. Partners (including corporations, foundations, startup funders, CEOs, and others) will contribute funds to existing proven models or develop new programs and efforts to help entrepreneurs.
“America's story has been forged in large part by entrepreneurs who have against great odds created innovative products and services that have changed the world – and created millions of jobs," said Steve Case. "Our nation once again looks to these creative risk-takers to unleash the next wave of American innovation, and I am pleased that President Obama has made supporting and celebrating entrepreneurs a major priority of his economic strategy. I am honored to chair the Startup America Partnership, and look forward to working with the White House to champion the creation of new start-ups, and help accelerate the growth of speed-ups."
“We are pleased to help lead this partnership,” said Carl Schramm. “At Kauffman, it is our mission to develop and fund programs to support entrepreneurs, and to help educate policymakers about the role entrepreneurship and innovation play in our society. This partnership will bring together partners from across the private, public and non-profit sectors, working together toward a common goal: supporting the entrepreneurs who are the lifeblood of our economy.”
To date, more than a dozen firms and organizations have joined the Startup America Partnership. They include the following commitments:
- Increased corporate investment and support for startups from companies such as Intel, HP, IBM, Facebook and others, including:
- Intel Capital will commit $200M of new investment in U.S. companies. Senior Intel leadership will also serve the Startup America Partnership and share best practices from years of successful programs designed to support Intel portfolio companies.
- IBM will invest $150 million in 2011 to fund programs that promote entrepreneurs and new business opportunities in the United States.
- HP is investing more than $4 million in 2011 in the HP Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs (HP LIFE), a global program launched in 2007 that uses educational and technology outreach aimed at helping entrepreneurs and small business owners create and grow commercial opportunities.
- As part of Facebook’s ongoing commitment to encourage entrepreneurs, the company will launch Startup Days, a new series of 12 to 15 events around the country designed to provide entrepreneurs with access to expertise, resources and engineers to help accelerate their businesses.
- To foster entrepreneurship through higher education, as part of its overall $50 million commitment to entrepreneurship, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has announced a $5 million expansion of the Blackstone LaunchPad program piloted at two Detroit colleges. Based on a model created by the University of Miami, LaunchPad will be replicated over the next five years in five other distressed regions around the country.
- The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), a nonprofit that provides entrepreneurship education for at-risk high school students from low-income communities, is launching new programs supporting young entrepreneurs and their teachers. Ernst & Young LLP will honor NFTE youth entrepreneurs at regional Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award® galas across the country, bringing important attention to the next generation of young entrepreneurs. The Pearson Foundation is working with NFTE to build its Digital Teacher Network, a free online community for teacher collaboration and training that will be used not only by NFTE’s 5,000 certified teachers but also by any educator interested in entrepreneurship. Google is sponsoring two new efforts in NFTE’s Bay Area programs: The Flat Classroom Exchange will allow local educators to team-teach the NFTE program in real time and leverage each teacher’s individual expertise, while the Makers Class project will integrate NFTE’s curriculum with invention and engineering lessons. New Markets Education Partners is providing NFTE with seed capital to launch in 2011 an interactive, online business planning course and social network connecting mentors, teachers, and students.
The Startup America Partnership will continue to marshal private-sector resources to spur entrepreneurship in the U.S. with a focus on three key areas:
- Acceleration and Scale: Replicate successful community-based entrepreneurship accelerator programs; encourage increase in experienced mentors to support startups and encourage partnerships with large companies to serve as customers or funders of current firms.
- Education: Identify resources to help expand high-impact entrepreneurship education throughout the country
- Commercialization: Increase the number of colleges and universities committed to commercialization outcomes, through efforts that include clearing the path to market for primary research, supporting the extension of successful accelerator programs, and spurring regional ecosystem development, faculty engagement, and streamlined technology licensing.
For more information about the Startup America Partnership and to see a full list of partner commitments, visit www.startupamericapartnership.org and follow the Partnership on www.twitter.com/startupamerica and www.facebook.com/startupamerica.
About the Kauffman Foundation
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private nonpartisan foundation that works to harness the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to grow economies and improve human welfare. Through its research and other initiatives, the Kauffman Foundation aims to open young people's eyes to the possibility of entrepreneurship, promote entrepreneurship education, raise awareness of entrepreneurship-friendly policies, and find alternative pathways for the commercialization of new knowledge and technologies. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org, follow the Foundation on www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.
About the Case Foundation
The Case Foundation, created by Steve and Jean Case in 1997, invests in people and ideas that can change the world, with the ultimate goal of making giving back a part of everyday life. The Foundation creates and supports initiatives that that leverage new technologies and entrepreneurial approaches to drive innovation in the social sector and encourage individuals to get involved with the communities and causes they care about. For more information, visit www.CaseFoundation.org, follow us at www.twitter.com/casefoundation and Facebook.com/casefoundation.