This week marks the one-year anniversary of Startup America, the White House’s effort to boost entrepreneurship by making it easier to start a business. Many major companies, including American Express and Microsoft, are sponsoring this effort because it will help fuel the economy. The growth in entrepreneurship has grown significantly in the past few years because of the low barriers to entry, the power of social media technology and the desire by young Americans to make a change. A 2011 study by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor shows that innovation-driven economies saw an increase of 22 percent in early stage entrepreneurship over 2010. It measured the number of people running a business that’s less than 3 and a half years old.
Young people see entrepreneurship as a way to create their own job and succeed in this horrible economy. Some even believe that it’s easier to start a business than apply for countless jobs, without hearing back from employers. The Kauffman Foundation reports that nearly half of Americans ages 8 to 24 have either already started a business or want to start one. There are many ways that Startup America is good for small business. Here are a few items on their agenda.
Cutting taxes for small businesses: In addition to the 17 small-business tax cuts Obama has already signed into law, there will be an additional four coming. There will be zero capital gains on small-business investments, which will help entrepreneurs raise capital. There will be an incentive for small companies to hire with a new 10 percent income tax credit on payroll in 2012. Startups will also be able to double the amount of expenses they can write-off from $5,000 to $10,000.
Unlocking capital access: The president wants to raise the offering limit under Regulation A from $5 million to $50 million and is evangelizing a way for entrepreneurs to source funds through crowds. He is also looking to change our current securities laws and regulations for small companies in their first years after going public and will increase the Small Business Investment Company Program to allow for up to $4 billion in annual support.
Relieving the backlog of immigrant visas: In the Presidents Blueprint for Building a 21st Century Immigration System, he is looking to eliminate country-specific limits for certain immigrant visa categories, which will attract new foreign workers.
The president’s entire agenda is called the Startup America Legislative Agenda, which is valued at about $48 billion dollars. As an entrepreneur, this announcement is music to my ears. It’s going to allow many of your companies to grow without the big tax burdens we’re used to. It’s also great for our economy and will help get things rolling again. We all know that small businesses create jobs. With the government on board to give us incentives to hire more people, it’s good for our business and the economy. We can only hope that Obama pulls this off, despite it being an election year. Regardless of what happens, this raises a lot of awareness for the needs of small businesses going forward.
Dan Schawbel, recognized as a “personal branding guru” by The New York Times, is the managing partner of Millennial Branding, a full-service personal branding agency. Dan is the author of Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future, the founder of the Personal Branding Blog and publisher of Personal Branding Magazine. He has worked with companies such as Google, Time Warner, Symantec, IBM, EMC and CitiGroup.
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