Las Vegas (PRESS RELEASE – July 6, 2010) — “Give us your fired, your underfunded start-ups, your huddled masses of innovative entrepreneurs yearning for access to capital. The wretched refuse of your economically broken shores. Send us the Twitters, the LinkedIn and Facebook tempest-tossed pioneers fighting to claim their piece of the American dream and let them stake a claim on the Startups Across America map, so we can all walk through the golden door.”
StartupsAcrossAmerica.com is the first entrepreneurial map of the United States, where startups can stand up and be counted. “As it grows it will detail the number of startups in each state and the funding they need to launch. By highlighting the numbers and listing the actual enterprises seeking funds, we intend to help level the playing field for access to capital,” said Ruth Hedges, CEO of Unismart Capital Software Inc.
While spotlighting the innovation, imagination and self determination that abounds among this country’s entrepreneurs, the Startups Across America map and its listings intend to give investors, community leaders, and other finance-related decision makers a keener understanding of the real dollars needed state-by-state for these new enterprises to succeed. “We encourage every startup to register and stake their claim on the map to bring attention to their efforts individually and collectively,” says Hedges.
The interactive map is being launched in response to lean times for start-up capital. Although start-ups contribute profoundly to job creation, the economic meltdown and the resulting recession have dried up seed capital for such ventures.
Hedges hopes the map will inspire wealthy Americans who may never have invested in early stage startups to discover the volume and depth of investment opportunities across the country and to invest as way to contribute to economic recovery.
“While Americans currently have 3.7 trillion dollars sitting on the sidelines in money market accounts, countless brilliant ideas, technology, research and innovation have been squandered for lack of investment, with ongoing consequences for our health, our economy and our society,” says Hedges, “We need to encourage investment in entrepreneurs and innovation in every way possible and provide a fast track system to launch viable new ventures.”
“The Startup America map allows us to see where startups are located, how much capital they need and what they will do with the funding, so investors can find, research and make sound investments. An interactive picture of the entrepreneurial landscape can help to proliferate reality-based economic activity and renewed prosperity for everyone,” says Hedges.
It can be argued that the ambition and innovation of our entrepreneurs are keys to rebuilding the nation’s economy. With more than 15 million Americans unemployed and vying for a scarce number of jobs, entrepreneurship is the crucial means for growing our economy – locally and nationally. This project aims to encourage private investors to power a resurgence of small business development in America by backing the creation of new ventures.
More than one new business is born every minute. In 2009 business startups reached their highest level in 14 years – even exceeding the number of startups created during the peak of the dot-com heyday. The underfunding of too many of these businesses prevents them from getting safely off the ground, resulting in lost innovation, revenue and job creation, a national crisis we are paying for now more than at any other time in our nation’s history.
As Pulitzer Prize winning NY times columnist Thomas Friedman said: “We owe our young people something better – and the solution is not that complicated, although it is amazing how little it is discussed in the Washington policy debates. We need three things: start-ups, start-ups and more start-ups.”
“We couldn’t agree more. So to be able to see who these entrepreneurs are, where they are, and how much capital they need to launch and succeed, we decided to build a digital map showcasing Startups Across America. Now anyone launching a new company in the USA can stake their claim for a piece of the American Dream on the map and broadcast their funding needs to a nation of possible investors,” said Hedges. The number of start-ups and the funding dollars they are trying to raise will be totaled by state and showcased on the map so everyone can see where the opportunities are and the money is needed. We can no longer wait for or depend on conventional forms of capitalization, i.e. small business loans, angel and venture capital to provide access to capital to get us out of the economic crisis. Last year the number of applicants who got venture or angel capital was shockingly low, and too many great ideas, products and inventions never saw the light of day. Startups Across America looks to provide another option.
During the Great Depression, more millionaires were created than at any other time in our nation’s history and it was eventually the smaller, more innovative companies that revived our economy. This has been the case in almost every recession since. “So as we deal with disasters and upheavals and watch small businesses falling into the abyss, we need to empower aspiring entrepreneurs by giving them a level playing field for access to capital to help rebuild and restart,” say Hedges.
“If we could register every small business owner in the gulf coast who has been upended by the oil spill,” states Hedges,” along with those stressed by the economy, floods, fires, hurricanes, and other disasters, adding those newly or recently self employed, we will have a much clearer picture of the kinds of companies and capital needed in each state, and be able to drive investment in the right direction.”
Hedges believes that to broaden access to capital, wealthy individuals need to take a more active role investing in entrepreneurship and innovation to help rebuild the American economy. “But they can’t do that if they don’t know where the need is, where the pioneers are, and how much capital entrepreneurs need to launch and succeed. And we need to remove certain regulatory roadblocks that for too long have limited access to investment. We hope entrepreneurs everywhere will join our campaign and encourage startups to sign up onto the map as a first step in a new process to create an expanded flow of investment capital and a new way of clearly seeing the promising Startups Across America.”