Last month I blogged here on about the progress of Startup America, a public-private partnership the White House launched in January to help Americans who are seeking to start businesses. My post focused on the progress that the public-sector side of Startup America has made. Now, let’s look at what going on with the private-sector component, the Startup America Partnership, which is an independent alliance of entrepreneurs, corporations, universities, foundations and business leaders.
Last week the Startup America Partnership’s CEO Scott Case (co-founder of Priceline.com) announced a new online platform and $330 million worth of product and service commitments to assist startup companies. Case told Reuters that the offerings are the result of listening to what startups nationwide want and need to succeed and create jobs, and that the web platform has been beta tested by several hundred companies.
So far, 14 providers including D&B and Dell Inc. are offering free products and services to small businesses that register on the site. Case told Reuters the goal is to register more than 100,000 small businesses by the first quarter of 2012.
Visit the Startup America Partnership site and you’ll be asked which of four categories you fall into—idea, startup, ramp up (growth) or speed up (rapid growth). Click on each category to filter the resource partners best suited to help at your stage of growth.
Small businesses that register will be able to access resources in five categories: capital, customers, talent, services and expertise. As the number of registered companies grows, investors will also be able to use the platform to find companies they might be interested in funding.
The Startup America Partnership site is easy to navigate. And bringing private-sector resources to bear on supporting entrepreneurship is a smart way to go, as we all know many entrepreneurs prefer not to rely on the government for help growing their businesses.
Now the only ingredient Startup America needs is you. To paraphrase a famous saying, it takes a village to start a small business. The Startup America Partnership site includes lists of events as well as opportunities to share your startup story, tell others about events of interest and alert others about resources they might be interested in. Check it out and get involved—even if you’re long past the startup stage, your advice and ideas can help others get going.
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I hope they keep making progress. There are some great offers in there that could really help a business get going. One of my favorites was the offer from Google to match the first $1000 in AdWords or Boost spend. Great way to get a little 2 for 1 on your advertising money.
I just received my rejection letter for their new “platform”. Apparently they are requiring that members have “two or more employees or founders” – though I could not find that requirement anywhere on their website. This of course means that they are dissing the 40 million “zero employee companies” in this country. I’m sure the author has her reasons for praising this platform, but I do have to take exception to the claim that “the offerings are the result of listening to what startups nationwide want and need to succeed and create jobs”. So just by coincidence what they want to sell is the exact same thing that entrepreneurs need? That should stretch everyone’s credulity more than a little. Did he author find any flaws with the platform at all, or is it perfect?
It took more than a week just to get rejected by this program, and that didn’t even happen till I started making noise on Twitter. From everything I have read so far, this seems more like a “corporate discount platform” than a service to help entrepreneurs and startups, but I will withhold judgement until I am able to see it.