Obama Unveils Initiative for 'Startup America'

WASHINGTON ( TheStreet) -- President Barack Obama launched a national initiative Monday called "Startup America," saying it would promote entrepreneurship and private-sector investment in start-up firms and address challenges faced by small-business owners.

The initiative was alluded to in Obama's State of the Union speech last week.

As part of the new budget, the president says he plans to propose making permanent the elimination of capital gains taxes on the sale of certain stock held in small businesses for more than five years.

The budget will also propose expanding (and simplifying) the New Markets Tax Credit to encourage private-sector investment in start-ups and businesses in lower-income communities.

Additionally, the Small Business Administration will commit $2 billion in existing guarantee authority over the next five years to match private-sector investment in start-ups and small firms in underserved communities, as well as seed early stage investing in firms with high-growth potential through its Small Business Investment Company program.

Elsewhere, the SBA and Department of Energy will increase mentorship for so-called "clean tech" start-ups.

"It is entrepreneurs in clean energy, medicine, advanced manufacturing, information technology and other fields who will build the new industries of the 21st century and solve some of our toughest global challenges," according to a Fact Sheet on the initiative provided by the White House.

Separately, the Department of Commerce is expanding its i6 Challenge to help foster the commercialization of clean technologies. The Commerce Department is also finalizing a plan to allow entrepreneurs to request faster review of patents, which should "speed the deployment of new ideas to the marketplace," according to the White House release.

The Veterans Administration is also launching training programs for veterans who want to start businesses.

Leaders in the private sector, led by AOL co-founder Steve Case, will launch the "Startup America Partnership," to mobilize private-sector commitments as part of the initiative.

Other initiatives in the private sector include expanding seed funding and mentorship programs such as the Astia network, MassChallenge program and TechStars.

It also includes expanding programs that prepare students to start companies and increasing corporate investment for start-up firms from companies such as Intel ( INTC), HP ( HPQ), IBM ( IBM) and Facebook.

The White House plans to hold events throughout the week geared toward innovation and job creation in industries of the future, it says.

"Entrepreneurs embody the promise of America: the belief that if you have a good idea and are willing to work hard and see it through, you can succeed in this country," Obama said in a statement. "And in fulfilling this promise, entrepreneurs also play a critical role in expanding our economy and creating jobs. That's why we're launching Startup America, a national campaign to help win the future by knocking down barriers in the path of men and women in every corner of this country hoping to take a chance, follow a dream and start a business."

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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