Innovation Nation: What the U.S. Government is Doing to Support Startups

There have been many new initiatives by the federal government to support startup businesses. If this sounds unusual, it’s not. Lots of businesses got their start thanks to federal funds. Here are a few ways to take advantage of them.

Startup In A Day

Startup In A Day has a simple goal: to help entrepreneurs understand and meet the requirements for starting a business in one day. The Small Business Administration is partnering with 25 different cities, along with two Native American communities, to develop online tools to consolidate startup information. It’s also trying to streamline the permitting and licensing processes in those cities. Every community involved in the project has pledged to share best practices through the National League of Cities. This will make it easier for entrepreneurs to get off the ground more quickly.

This is especially helpful for small companies and entrepreneurs who don’t have a lot of experience starting a new company.

The Growth Accelerator Fund

Companies like Midlake Products started out in a one-car garage. But, it grew into a massive family empire. Many of the federal programs out there, like the Growth Accelerator Fund, didn’t exist when Midlake was just starting. But, today, the fund provides capital, mentorship, and institutional support for budding entrepreneurs.

It’s a program run through the Small Business Administration (SBA), with the goal being to provide $4 million to expand startup operations and help founders and small businesses gain traction in the marketplace.

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs

The government hands out over $2 billion in small business grants and contracts to entrepreneurs who are willing to do extensive research and development to help solve problems and stimulate technological innovation.

If you work in an industry where your technology could potentially be commercialized, it might be worth applying for these funds.

Startup America

The Startup America program is a White House initiative to help accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship in the country. It’s a public/private initiative to bring together the country’s most innovative entrepreneurs and corporations with universities, foundations, and other business leaders. Together, the goal is to get money into the hands of entrepreneurs who need it to get their operation up and running.

The mission is to create sustainable growth and increase job numbers.

Entrepreneurship in clean energy, medicine, advanced manufacturing, IT, and many other industries are expected to build entirely new industries in the country to replace old ones that just aren’t growing anymore or are outdated.

The White House has committed to making this idea a reality by accelerating capital support for startups. The SBA will commit up to $1 billion to funds that invest in companies located in underserved communities. In other words, the SBA will invest in economically distressed areas and companies in emerging sectors like clean energy.

Another $1 billion invested in early-stage companies will help cash-strapped companies stay alive. The target is high-growth companies who traditionally don’t quality for venture capital of between $1 and $4 million because of a lack of funding or interest in these smaller markets.

Julie Shrum is the sales manager at Midlake. Working there for nearly 20 years has taught her a lot about metal fabrication and business in general. She works with her sales team to create a comfortable atmosphere for customers. Wearing many hats at Midlake has helped Julie find out about the many new uses for sheet metal.

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