Could the nation's capital be the next Silicon Valley? Plus, the growing demand for app developers, a new White House partnership, and more of the day's news.
Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:
Start-ups head to Washington. Cancel that one-way ticket to San Fransisco. The New York Times reports on the "entrepreneurial momentum" that is drawing hundreds of start-ups to a city that is traditionally known for its lawyers, lobbyists, politicians, and eighth grade field trips. But, according to The Times, an influx of quality engineers and venture capital has baited more firms to the District of Columbia. Perhaps there's a less tangible reason, too. "Many credit the Obama presidency for making Washington 'cool' again for the under-30 set," The Times points out. LivingSocial, Clearspring, and Opower are just a few of the more recognizable start-ups that are based in Washington, but "scrappy up-and-comers," like skeevisArts and Spinnakr are setting down their roots, too.
Obama gives small businesses a tax break. In an effort to boost small businesses and encourage entrepreneurship, President Obama will propose to "permanently eliminate capital gains taxes on certain investments made by small businesses," The Wall Street Journal notes. If approved by Congress, this provision, which was part of the Small Business Jobs Act signed in September, would extend the tax break for small businesses for more than five years.
White House joins Startup America Partnership. Following last week's State of the Union address, in which President Obama stressed the need to support innovation and small business in America, the White House is joining forces with the likes of Intel, IBM, and HP as part of the Startup America Partnership. Funded in part by the Kauffman Foundation and the Case Foundation, the goal of the partnership is "to increase the number of new, high-growth firms that are creating economic growth, innovation, and quality jobs," according to the organization's website. Intel, IBM, and HP are all investing millions of dollars in entrepreneurship, while Facebook and Google are both launching entrepreneurship education and support programs. In a press release, Carl Schramm of the Kauffman Foundation said, "This partnership will bring together partners from across the private, public and non-profit sectors, working together toward a common goal: supporting the entrepreneurs who are the lifeblood of our economy."
Attack of the machines. Vending machines are fighting back against theft. Say what? The Wall Street Journal reports that, in response to a string of thefts against defenseless food dispensers, some vending machines owners are taking matters into their own hands, outfitting their candy bar and soda dispensers with wireless warning devices. Not only do these devices warn owners when their machines are under attacked by random thieves, but they also catch nefarious employees in the act as well. Marcus Whitener, an owner of Refreshment Solutions LLC of Norco, Louisiana, says that within nine months of installing the systems, seven of his 25 route drivers either quit or were fired. Nothing compares to technology when attempting to catch a thief.
Is Flickr's star fading? Yahoo has said it will offload or close its struggling web products, including the bookmarking service Delicious. Could Flickr, which has fought hard lately to keep users coming back, be next? No way, say Yahoo bosses, who quickly dispelled rumors of a Flickr sale: "Is Yahoo committed to Flickr?" product chief Blake Irving wrote on Twitter. "Hell yes we are." Still, the site's traffic is shrinking, largely due to stiff competition from Facebook. The New York Times reports that "Flickr's trajectory largely dovetails that of Yahoo, which is struggling to re-emerge from years of underperformance."