The U.S. Department of Commerce today officially launched the Startup Global initiative, delivering the first in a series of pilot program educational events. The event took place at 1776, a local business incubator in Washington, D.C., which is one of four such locations to be selected as pilot sites. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced Startup Global, an initiative designed to help more startup firms think global from the earliest stages of a company’s growth, in February
Startups are at the cutting edge of commercial innovation, and coupled with advances in technology and communication, they now have unprecedented potential for expansion into global markets. However, many technology-enabled businesses are in a reactive position when international sales opportunities arise, and many are unaware of where to go for assistance and best practices. The Startup Global pilot initiative aims to help the next generation of exporters by working with the United States’ unparalleled incubators and accelerators, which are key centers of gravity and trusted advisers in the startup ecosystem.
Today’s workshop attracted dozens of early-stage companies looking to gain technical assistance on selling their goods and services worldwide. Participants learned more about the path to going global, the availability of key federal and local government resources, and best practices in intellectual property protection and licensing.
“Many U.S. entrepreneurs and early-stage companies are poised to rapidly expand to global markets as a means of growing their customer base and sales,” said Secretary Pritzker. “This is the first time the Department of Commerce has partnered with business incubators and the startup community to provide the know-how and technical assistance they need to export their goods and services to the 95 percent of global consumers outside the United States. We look forward to expanding our working relationships with incubators like 1776, to help entrepreneurs think global from day one.”
Today’s program featured speakers from the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as well as the Small Business Administration and Export DC. The event was held with the support of the National Foreign Trade Council’s Global Innovation Forum, which brought in key private sector voices to share their experience and advice for startups.
Startup Global pilot events will not only provide direct assistance to startups, but also collect data and measure demand to inform the creation of a national program. Upcoming seminars will be hosted in the first half of 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio; Nashville, Tenn.; and Arlington, Texas.
The pilot program was created to:
- respond to strong demand from the startup community for the Department to provide needed technical assistance on exporting their goods and services;
- measure the interest and capacity of incubators and accelerators, in partnering with the Department of Commerce to help their clients achieve success; and
- assess the level of Commerce engagement needed to have a measureable and positive impact on incubator partnership development and startup growth.