Happy Friday! The Commerce Department will establish a new Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship to help small businesses grow faster, part of the Obama administration’s new $100 billion innovation agenda announced earlier this week. The administration is especially interested in helping small businesses and entrepreneurs as statistics suggest businesses less than five years old accounted for nearly all private sector employment growth from 1980 to 2005.
The new office will report directly to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and help coordinate the federal government’s efforts to help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into actual products, companies and jobs. It will also focus on education, training and mentoring issues; improving access to capital for small businesses; and help create government-backed incentives for entrepreneurs and potential investors.
Locke will also lead a new national advisory council on entrepreneurship and innovation, stacked with various experts in the field.
“We’re not lacking for groundbreaking ideas in this country. Nor are we short on smart entrepreneurs willing to take risks. 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 can help,” Locke said Thursday at a small business conference in Washington where he announced the new office and advisory panel.
Obama unveiled the innovation agenda on Monday in Troy, N.Y. — just minutes from The Eye’s hometown! The plan promotes progress in clean energy, health care, basic research and college educations. Obama predicted that by 2020 the U.S. will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.