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Entrepreneurs' Advice for President Obama

If entrepreneurs had a direct line to President Obama's ear, what would they say? Find out.
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Start-ups are often touted as the front line of innovation and job creation, two things the White House says it is keen to promote. So what advice do these entrepreneurs have for the Commander-in-Chief?

Silicon Valley Bank's 2013 Startup Outlook Survey asked 750 start-up executives what piece of advice they would give President Obama with regard to supporting the innovation economy. Silicon Valley Bank surveyed private companies across the U.S. in a variety of fields including software, life science, hardware, and CleanTech sectors. The annual survey aims to identify trends in startup performance and what these companies need to develop and grow.

Revamp the tax system. Obama launched 18 small business tax incentives in 2012, but some of the changes have left would-be entrepreneurs more confused than ever. Navigating the maze of policies and procedures has never been easy and can be a source of anxiety for small business owners, as an error can be costly. One respondent had a straightforward nugget of advice on the topic: “Keep it simple.”

Build the talent pool. Small businesses need a bigger crop of talent, 18 percent of respondents said. When up-and-coming employees have access to the training they need, startups can harvest the skills they want. Coding was mentioned as one much-needed skill, while another respondent advised the president to  “make it easier to hire the best and brightest from around the world.”

Ease regulation. According to 12 percent of execs surveyed, President Obama needs to make entrepreneurial life easier and “cut the red tape.” There are a number of regulatory hoops a startup must leap through in order to get up and running, from registering with the Department of Labor to arranging for workers’ comp and disability insurance.

Encourage innovation. According to 10 percent of respondents, creators thrive in an environment that gets what they’re trying to do and why they want to give it a shot. If the president could just “think like an entrepreneur,” one respondent says, executing the next big idea would be easier and more sincerely encouraged.

Leave us alone. On the other hand, 9 percent small business owners would rather the Federal government be less involved in their dealings. Just “butt out,” one startup exec said. Another 12 percent of those surveyed expressed reluctance to deal with a divided Federal government, asking “both the President and Congress” to “be more bi-partisan.” 

 

Last updated: Jan 22, 2013

JULIE STRICKLAND | Staff Writer

Julie Strickland covers start-ups, small businesses, and entrepreneurial endeavors of all kinds for Inc. Her work has been published in Brooklyn Based and City Limits in New York, the Free Times in Columbia, SC, Real Travel Magazine in London, and Daegu Pockets in South Korea. She lives in New York City.




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