September 3, 2014

Help Out By Signing Up for Startup America

Startup America Challenge
It’s Fight Club here at Small Business Trends … and we need your help.

Er, well, not exactly Fight Club… maybe more like a friendly little neighborhood boxing match.  You see, this week we’re duking it out with my good friend Tim Berry and his companies, BPlans and LivePlan.  The battle is all about which of us can get the most small businesses to sign up at Startup America.  See the intimidating and vicious Tim Berry about to knock me out in the boxing poster?  Do NOT let that happen, please.

OK, I admit that Tim Berry looks about as vicious as a puppy dog  in that poster.  And I wouldn’t intimidate a pair of socks.  :)  But, nevertheless, don’t let those guys at BPlans stomp on Small Business Trends!

So here’s what I’m asking you to do:

Sign up your company to be in Startup America.  It takes just a couple of minutes online.  Once you’re approved, you can get free valuable resources and networking/mentoring opportunities from this high-profile initiative.  Startup companies get:

  • direct access to experts for mentoring and advice
  • the ability to network both in your local region and via a private LinkedIn group
  • access to resources from 50 Startup America partners in five key categories: expertise, services, talent, customers and capital

Startup America is a private organization working to help startups succeed.  It has some high profile backing (including the Case Foundation — as in Steve Case, founder of AOL).  And in 2011 it was launched at the White House — but don’t let that fool you — it is not a governmental agency.

We here at Small Business Trends get points in this competition, every time one of you signs up.  (Note:  Small Business Trends and BPlans/LivePlan are not getting compensated. We’re simply volunteering our time and efforts to help you all — and to help spread the word about the value that the Startup America Partnership offers. )

Help us beat the BPlans/LivePlan team! And get valuable resources for your company, too.

Sign up using this link by the end of day March 7 – REGISTER FOR FREE AT STARTUP AMERICA.

8 Comments ▼
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Anita Campbell - CEO


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses, and also serves as CEO of TweakYourBiz.com.

8 Reactions

  1. How is this valuable Anita? Have you actually tried it? For the most part, this is a corporate discount platform – a coupon book – few of the small businesses I have talked to have found it to be useful. Normally I really like your blog, but in this case you are “promoting” and not “reporting”. Probably you should also tell your readers they must “apply” and you must have “two full time employees or founders” – meaning most of America’s startups are disqualified. In fact, some of the most influential small business people I know have been rejected from this “service”.

    • It’s valuable for those who want to receive services, mentoring and networking opportunities, Rob. Value, like beauty, tends to be in the eye of the beholder.

      We point to a lot of different services, websites, apps, products and communities here on Small Business Trends and through social media channels and on our other websites. And we allow people to mention their own sites (we even have a dedicated website, BizSugar, specifically for readers to share information and content from their own sites).

      Not everything will be appropriate or of interest or valuable to every single reader. But we share the information because some among our audience will find it of value.

      Thanks,
      Anita

  2. Ok, Anita – I just thought you should know that many of your readers might get rejected from this – even it they are legitimate small businesses. I didn’t find this site particularly useful for “networking” – it is set up so that their corporate sponsors get all the information – not for people to work together, and their “services” – i.e. “deals” aren’t all that great. In designing this service they didn’t seem to ask “what do small businesses” want, they asked “what can we sell small businesses”. Also, on the “business mentoring” – are you sure? It has been my experience in following this group since it started that they will often say they are doing things that they aren’t. I don’t care for these things being organized as “contests” and have said from the beginning that if they start emphasizing contests, it will be an indication that it has failed, but I don’t wish to spoil your effort so you can delete my comments if you wish.

  3. Just found this. Startup America is not only a promoter of small business, it is a detractor from it. Look at this article and see how the CEO, Scott Case thinks about small business owners as not having what it takes, quitting the first time they try, going to work for the first barber that will hire them, “mom and pop” pejorative descriptions, etc. It’s ugly.

    And he makes sure we understand Startup America is not for small businesses by drawing a very clear distinction between what he calls a startup and the 600,000 small businesses that startup every year (he won’t let them use the term startup – it’s only for his special few).

    Arrogant and elitist comes to mind when thinking of Startup America, but certainly not supportive of small business – in any way. Startup America has one objective create more giant corporations using giant government money to do it. Most of us would call that crony capitalism. But by wrapping it in the deceptive term “startup”, they’re going to get away with this new form of crony capitalism for a while longer. H

    Here’s the URL, followed by some choice quotes from Case on who Startup America is not for small business:

    http://wapo.st/tgmcXl

    Case: “Small business owners, if they fail at their first attempt, they’ll immediately go take a job in their industry,” said Scott Case, chief executive of the Startup America Partnership. “The local salon owner who doesn’t make it will go cut hair for someone else. But not a startup founder. A founder will shut down their business and just start again. And that’s the fuel that drives the market ahead.”

    Author of article: “Case noted that high-growth startups also face vastly different challenges than their mom-and-pop counterparts” – I know a lot of business owners who would be offended by being called mom and pops, and rightly so.

    And to ensure we all get that Startup America isn’t for small business and that startups don’t include small business startups:

    Article Author: “And as for whether policy makers should distinguish between startup founders and traditional small business owners, Case suggests going straight to the source.”

    Case: “If you sit in a room of 200 startups, and you ask which of them are small businesses, no one will raise their hand,” he said. “What they’ll tell you is that they are giant businesses that just haven’t scaled yet.”

    I don’t think a small business resource like SmallBizTrends.com should be sending people to Startup America or promoting it as a small business resource.

    • correction – first sentence should read that Startup America is NOT a promoter of small business. #Proofread…

    • Hi Chuck, thanks — I value the insights you’ve brought in this comment.

      I consider being a small business owner as a high calling, and I am proud to call myself that. I make no distinction between a startup founder or entrepreneur or small business owner — as if they are somehow different. I identify as a small business owner AND as an entrepreneur AND as a startup founder.

      - Anita

  4. Anita,

    Thanks for your response. I know how very committed you are to small and local businesses. Millions of business owners would all see themselves, as do you and me, as having been startup founders, which is why getting the light of day on Startup America’s true agenda is so important, and ensuring we don’t promote it is critical.

    Startup America is crony capitalism through and through and yet when they wrap it in a name like “Startup America”, every small and local business owner in America will FEEL like they are finally getting attention, when once again they are being had. The “Small” Business Administration is one of those deceptive big business models. Small business owners actually think it is for them when it is focused on businesses with 100+ employees and tens of millions in revenue. But the name, and the fact that they throw a few crumbs our way (SCORE, etc.) throws everyone off.

    Startup America is using the same formula – build something that is for bigger businesses, throw a few crumbs at the smaller ones (their crumb is their coupon website), and we’ll be able to run off with all the goodies, which in this case is $2billion in funding that comes from the “Small” Business Administration, but is NOT available to ANY small businesses; $1billion of it is incredibly going ONLY to venture capital firms, the other $1billion can only go to very high-growth firms that are working with venture capitalists. No one else need apply.

    Startup America is not for startups and it is about as un-American as any other crony capitalist scheme we’ve seen in decades.

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