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Commerce Secretary Locke Announces New Commerce Initiatives to Foster Innovation and Entrepreneurship

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, September 24, 2009

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Commerce Secretary Locke Announces New Commerce Initiatives to Foster Innovation and Entrepreneurship

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced today his plans to create a new Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship within the Department of Commerce and launch a National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Both substantial new initiatives will help leverage the entire federal government on behalf of promoting entrepreneurship in America. The new office is expected to announce additional initiatives in the coming months.

The new Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which will answer directly to the secretary, will be geared toward the first step in the business cycle: moving an idea from someone’s imagination, or from a research lab, into a business plan.

“We're not lacking for groundbreaking ideas in this country; nor are we short on smart entrepreneurs willing to take risks,” Locke said at the Inc. 500/5000 Conference today. “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 is a big step in the right direction.”

The National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship will advise the Commerce Department on policy relating to building small businesses and help to keep the department engaged in a regular dialogue with the entrepreneurship and small business communities. The council is expected to be comprised of successful entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, non-profit leaders and other experts.

The Obama Administration is committed to helping America’s entrepreneurs succeed, evidenced by its efforts to free up credit markets, unprecedented investments in America’s physical and intellectual infrastructure, and variety of tax credits and other incentives to help foster promising industries like renewable energy and smart grid technologies.

Working toward the Obama Administration’s vision, the Department of Commerce will lead the effort to encourage high-growth entrepreneurship through these new initiatives, among others.

Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
The mission of the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship is to unleash and maximize the economic potential of new ideas by removing barriers to entrepreneurship and the development of high-growth and innovation-based businesses. The office will report directly to Locke and focus specifically on identifying issues and programs most important to entrepreneurs. Working closely with the White House and other federal agencies, this new office will drive policies that help entrepreneurs translate new ideas, products and services into economic growth. The office will focus on the following areas:

  • Encouraging Entrepreneurs through Education, Training, and Mentoring
  • Improving Access to Capital
  • Accelerating Technology Commercialization of Federal R&D
  • Strengthening Interagency Collaboration and Coordination
  • Providing Data, Research, and Technical Resources for Entrepreneurs
  • Exploring Policy Incentives to Support Entrepreneurs and Investors

National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
The National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship will advise Locke and the administration on key issues relating to innovation and entrepreneurship. The council will include successful entrepreneurs, innovators, angel investors, venture capitalists, non-profit leaders and other experts who will identify and recommend solutions to issues critical to the creation and development of entrepreneurship ecosystems that will generate new businesses and jobs. It will also serve as a vehicle for ongoing dialogue with the entrepreneurship community and other stakeholders.