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Eye Opener: Gov't Opens Entrepreneurship Office

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Happy Friday! The Commerce Department will establish a new Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship to help small businesses grow faster, part of the Obama administration's new $100 billion innovation agenda announced earlier this week. The administration is especially interested in helping small businesses and entrepreneurs as statistics suggest businesses less than five years old accounted for nearly all private sector employment growth from 1980 to 2005.

The new office will report directly to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and help coordinate the federal government's efforts to help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into actual products, companies and jobs. It will also focus on education, training and mentoring issues; improving access to capital for small businesses; and help create government-backed incentives for entrepreneurs and potential investors.

Locke will also lead a new national advisory council on entrepreneurship and innovation, stacked with various experts in the field.

"We're not lacking for groundbreaking ideas in this country. Nor are we short on smart entrepreneurs willing to take risks. What we need to do is get better at connecting the great ideas to the great company builders. And I think The Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship can help," Locke said Thursday at a small business conference in Washington where he announced the new office and advisory panel.

Obama unveiled the innovation agenda on Monday in Troy, N.Y. -- just minutes from The Eye's hometown! The plan promotes progress in clean energy, health care, basic research and college educations. Obama predicted that by 2020 the U.S. will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Cabinet and Staff News: The Navy Secretary wants women to be able to serve on submarines. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke launches a Twitter feed. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg hospitallized. Reginald Jones, formerly of EEOC, named director of GAO's Office of Opportunity and Inclusiveness. Jonathan Jarvis confirmed as director of the National Park Service. Clinton-era Pentagon official Frank Kramer in the running to be the next cyber czar? OPM's John Berry makes the case (again) for teleworking. OMB hires Shelley Metzenbaum to help lead its performance management effort. The NEA's communications director resigns.

Republicans Threaten to Delay HHS Confirmations: At issue for the GOP is the department's "gag order" on insurers.

Early Findings Released on Census Worker's Death: State and federal law enforcement officials on Thursday dismissed the suggestion from a news service report that the man, William Sparkman, 51, may have been targeted because he worked for the federal government, calling that speculative.

Unions Criticize Obama's School Proposals as 'Bush III': Standardized testing, school accountability, performance pay, charter schools -- all are integral to President Obama's $4.35 billion "Race to the Top" grant competition to spur innovation. None is a typical Democratic crowd-pleaser.

FDA Admits Error in Approving Knee Device: The agency’s scientific reviewers repeatedly and unanimously over many years decided that the device was unsafe because the device often failed, forcing patients to get another operation.

USDA to Fund Conservation Effort in 12 States: The Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative will fund efforts in states along the 2,350-mile long Mississippi River.

Veterans Report G.I. Bill Fund Delays: Thousands of veterans attending college on the new G.I. Bill are having to take out loans, put off buying textbooks or dig into savings because of delays by the Department of Veterans Affairs in issuing benefit checks.

Family Loses Suit on FEMA Trailer Safety: A federal jury decided that a trailer made by Gulf Stream Coach Inc. and occupied after the 2005 hurricane by a mother and son was not “unreasonably dangerous” in its construction.

Battle Brews Over Unused TARP Cash: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner may opt to extend the program, which expires on Dec. 31. But even if the program isn't extended, officials want to keep at least some of the money that has yet to be committed to any particular program on hand in case financial conditions worsen and the government is forced to step in.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | September 25, 2009; 6:24 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Eye Opener  
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Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship: now that is a good idea.

Posted by: sanderblome | September 25, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Excellent idea. I was wondering if GIS engineers could evaluate the health care provider maldistribution.

Part of the challenge is that we incentivize doctors to stay at central areas.Innovation might be enhanced by these entrepreneurs evaluating cost efficiencies at distal areas..

They might be able to streamline the IT & determine how to staff these smaller health care sites more efficiently.

For instance, they could probably come up with more efficient "minute clinic" ideas that could save money. These ideas could be reported to state cost containment councils.

Posted by: kit_m | September 25, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship? Why couldn't this be handled within the Small Business Administration? Why is another completely new agency necessary?

Posted by: z763alm2x | September 25, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

DoC is a better home than SBA, as Innovation and Entrpreneurship are also concerns for large companies. Indeed, to solve complex problems (such as healthcare, cited by kit_m above, as well as CleanTech and such) government and established firms have to work's not a problem that start-ups can handle alone. CORPORATE Entrepreneurship will be required.
Mike Lippitz

(Full disclosure: I have a book coming out on Corporate Entrepreneurship next month, called Grow From Within. See

Posted by: mlippitz | September 25, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

As the USA and other economies continue to look for solutions to stimulate and reboot economic activity,we created the Funding Roadmap a standardized, transparent system to accelerate the ,investing and loan approval processes for new and emerging small businesses.

The Funding Roadmap is the first compliant online business plan and due diligence reporting system platform for entrepreneurs and small business owners built in the clouds.

Who creates jobs?
Employers with profitable businesses, innovating and creating wealth, that’s who!
Americans understand that entrepreneurship is the beating heart of a vibrant economy. So why aren’t we as a nation being more effective in new business creation?

We live at a moment when access to capital has been paralyzed by greed and fear. Funding Roadmap provides organizational innovation to a broken and ineffective funding system with our revolutionary in-the-cloud technology.

We can help level the playing field for access to capital once and for all, for the the most important player in the real economy, the small business owner.

I hope we can work together with the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship to help encourage entrepreneurs from the more than 30 million unemployed and part-time employees in this country who are waiting for big business to save them. They need to know that they can save themselves. They can make the exhilarating leap into self sufficiency so that their passion, and innovations can be turned into jobs and economic growth for us all.

Ruth E Hedges CEO

Posted by: Fundingroadmap | October 2, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

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