Mark Drapeau (Washington, DC) —
Tonight at a private invite-only event, Startup DC will launch a new initiative named “Reboot America” with the strategic goals of creating local jobs, improving the DC regional economy, and increasing innovation in America. Reboot America, created by Startup DC in partnership with their national mothership Startup America, is a year-long program connecting large corporations in key regional industries with emerging startup companies for the purposes of collaboration and partnership.
How will Reboot America engage key stakeholders?
Reboot America’s engagements during 2012-2013 will involve large corporations in DC-prominent verticals like education, defense, biotech, media, and politics explicitly learning about the DC entrepreneurship community, and startup companies — and people thinking about creating startup companies — learning about the substantial challenges of big business, potentially becoming their partners in new projects and business ventures.
These engagements between big business and startups will happen both online through new digital platforms to be revealed at different times throughout the year, and offline at a series of events which will culminate in a national conference on November 8 -9 during the 10,000-attendee Digital Capital Week, or DC Week, festival.
This new series of engagements from Reboot America will also give startups novel opportunities to network with each other and discuss innovative solutions to further the growth of businesses in America. This capitalizes on the burgeoning DC technology scene as evidenced by large events like Entreprelooza (also a Startup DC initiative) and the monthly 1000-person+ DC Tech Meetup, and new community resources like Foster.ly.
Microsoft sponsors Reboot America
“Startup DC’s new Reboot America initiative aligns directly with Microsoft’s commitment to provide emerging startup companies the tools and technologies they need to tackle societal challenges and drive the growth of the DC and national economies,” Dan Kasun, Senior Director of Platform Evangelism at Microsoft Public Sector, one of the corporate sponsors of the Reboot America initiative, related to me. “Empowering entrepreneurs of all kinds is vital for economic growth, and we are proud to be a sponsor and partner in this new initiative.”
This is just one of the ways that Microsoft interacts with and empowers startup companies. For example, qualified startups are eligible for certain kinds of free software and support for three years under a program called Bizspark. Microsoft’s commitment to Reboot America continues our commitment to empowering entrepreneurs of all kinds with the latest technologies.
Reboot America focus areas
During 2012, three specific Reboot America focus areas will be:
- Democracy (media, advocacy, and politics)
- National Challenges (education, healthcare, energy, and America’s place in the global economy)
- Government and Security (national and local government, national security, homeland security, and cybersecurity)
Each of these focus areas, plus additional ones to come in 2013, will be co-chaired by two people: one from big business, and one from a relevant startup.
I can announce here that I will be co-chairing the National Challenges effort, which will involve a modest event before DC Week in November, and then a portion of the larger conference. I am currently assembling a diverse host committee working across the areas of education, health, energy, and other areas involving the grand challenges of keeping America competitive in the world.
Additionally, as part of our overall sponsorship Microsoft will team with Startup DC and Startup America to launch a “digital think tank for young civic innovators” in order to increase collaboration and the spread of knowledge between business, academia, and the startup community in the key verticals outlined above. Microsoft has been running a “beta” version of this called the National Piggy Bank for about eight months.
Connecting with the Reboot America mission
During 2012, Reboot America will launch some new digital assets, including the aforementioned “digital think tank” and a new blog. Meanwhile, you can “Like” their Facebook page, and follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #RebootUSA.
Dr. Mark Drapeau is part of the Microsoft Office of Civic Innovation and is an advisor to Startup DC.
Photo from GOOD magazine’s article, The Reinvention of American Cities.