“Every $1 dollar invested in this program will put $2.87 into the national treasury” – N.Velazquez (US State Representative)
“The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in our region. What is lacking is the opportunity and ability to tap into ‘the experts’.” – Donna Kilhoffer (Community Education Council)
On July 28, 2009 the US House of Representatives passed a bi-partisan bill called the Educating Entrepreneurs Through Today’s Technology Act. The bill was introduced by New York Democrat Nydia Velazquez, who is the Chairperson of the House Small Business Committee. It provides funds for creating a USA national training program for entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses. It will finance satellite and advanced network infrastructure as well as leading-edge content and participation by some of the most successful and experienced entrepreneurs on the planet. The delivery will be live, online, interactive and available to small business owners and entrepreneurs nationwide. Whether they live in the backwoods of West Virginia or in the heart of Silicon Valley, they will now have access to instant, interactive and specialized expertise. Now that is the type of government stimulus program I like.
Why is this important for European entrepreneurs and politicians?
- USA entrepreneurs are challenged because there are so many remote geographies and rural areas. Europeans are challenged because there are so many different and also remote nationalities. Europe needs this kind of program.
- USA entrepreneurs are blessed with a single, large and homogeneous market. Europeans need to lower the national barriers so that European Entrepreneurs can service EU markets unencumbered.
- USA venture capital markets are uniform and relatively equivalent across the country (the VC terms in Boston are not that much different from those in Silicon Valley or the Technology Triangle in N.Carolina). Europe needs to flatten the geography.
- USA entrepreneurs struggle with internationalization and cross-border ventures. Europeans understand this innately and should be encouraged to use this to their competitive advantage.
Europe needs to find a way to turn this from a disadvantage into a competitive advantage.
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“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, employing roughly half of U.S. workers, and while our communities are experiencing high unemployment rates, the entrepreneurial spirit remains alive and well,” Thompson told the Members. “For many underserved and rural areas, it is critical to have the opportunity and ability to tap into resources that will foster further economic development and provide prospective entrepreneurs with the same access afforded to their suburban and urban counterparts.”
The measure will provide high-quality tele-distance training through a competitive grants process administered by the Small Business Administration. The program will promote peer-to-peer networking for small business development, by using technology to deliver information and share data on-line and through videos and satellite communication.
Satellite seminars and online information services will allow prospective and established business men and women to interact with each other to trouble shoot problems and share best practices for interacting with the Small business Administration. This is a good example of the proliferation of online networking sites, where people can exchange their knowledge and information. This one will offer facts and figures on securing financing, navigating government regulations and learning to get a small business off the ground.
For many entrepreneurs, accessing this kind of information requires driving long distances to a Small Business Development Center. This legislation will bring the information to home computers.
In April, when this bill had a hearing before the Small Business Committee, Donna Kilhoffer, the program manager for the Community Education Council of Elk and Cameron Counties testified, “The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in our region. What is lacking is the opportunity and ability to tap into ‘the experts’.”
This measure will allow people throughout the Nation to tap into the experts.
Thompson’s bill passed in May as well when it was included as a part of a larger House-passed bill, (H.R. 2352), the Job Creation through Entrepreneurship Act of 2009. Both measures await action in the U.S. Senate before either can become law.