The White House and SBA Launch the ‘Startup in a Day’ Initiative and Prize Competition

June 11, 2015

3:00 pm

The White House and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has just announced the launch of a new initiative aimed at providing entrepreneurs and small business owners with an easier way to transform their ideas into actual businesses. Created in coordination with the National League of Cities, the “Startup in a Day” initiative is a new partnership with several U.S. cities to develop online solutions to help entrepreneurs navigate and apply for local, state, and federal permits or licenses in less than a day.

“I’m calling on city halls across the country to join the initial eleven mayors in a simple but powerful pledge to entrepreneurs and small business owners: If you want to start a business, we’ll make it so easy to navigate the license and permitting system online, that you’ll be off and running within 24 hours,” said President Obama, in an official statement from the White House. 

To further drive the goals of the Startup in a Day initiative, the SBA has announced a $1.5 million competition that will award $50,000 prizes to 25 communities around the U.S. that adopt the Startup in a Day goals and online tools. Local and state governments who work together to develop tools to cover multiple regions of the country or can be easily repurposed have a chance to receive an additional $250,000 in prizes. In addition, the SBA announced that it will develop a federal companion tool to the digital tools being developed by Startup in a Day cities. The tool will be targeted to help entrepreneurs navigate and work their way through federal requirements (e.g from the IRS, Department of Labor, OSHA, or the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) more efficiently. A partnership with the NLC will enable municipal leaders to have a platform where they can collaborate and help each other solve various challenges or create better strategies to help meet the Startup in a Day goals.

Helping Entrepreneurs Navigate Red Tape

When it comes to starting a business, one of the biggest hurdles is often having to deal with the considerable red tape. In order to actually get your business off the ground, you first have to ensure that you’ve got everything set legally – from ensuring that you’ve made plans for a creating a legal business structure, to understanding the various permits or licensing requirements for whatever business you’re trying to establish.

Through the White House and SBA’s Startup in a Day initiative, the goal is to leverage technology to help create tools that will make the process for startups and entrepreneurs much simpler than traditionally. Instead of having them endure days or even weeks navigating the process, entrepreneurs and small businesses can use these online solutions to go through the licenses and permits in less than a day.

The Startup in a Day Pledge

President Obama has issued a call-to-action to all mayors in the United States to take the Startup in a Day pledge and to work towards creating these online tools. At announcement, eleven cities across the United States have taken the pledge with a commitment to launch online solutions within 12 months. These cities include Boston, MA; Chattanooga, TN; Denver, CO; Fresno, CA; Kansas City, MO; Nashville, TN; San Francisco, CA; St. Petersburg, FL; Salt Lake City, UT; Seattle, WA; and Washington, D.C.

Per the Administration, the official Startup in a Day pledge is as follows:

Our cities and communities are committed to making it easier for every entrepreneur to start a business. We believe an entrepreneur’s time is best spent developing innovative products and services, creating jobs, and growing local economies—not navigating red tape. While fair zoning rules, licenses, and permits are important to ensuring public safety and fair competition, it shouldn’t take more than a day for entrepreneurs to identify and begin to apply, ideally through a single online tool, for the licenses and permits they need to responsibly launch a business. Accordingly, we resolve to:

1. Create a “Startup in a Day” online tool within 12 months: We will develop within a year a website or application that lets most entrepreneurs identify and begin to apply within one day for all requirements to launch a business in our respective communities.

2. Develop a streamlined, business-friendly, online permitting system: Our pledge is a first step in a larger effort to streamline, simplify, and bring online those regulatory requirements that have traditionally been fragmented across multiple agencies and handled through a paper-based process. Our ultimate goal is for small business owners to be able to manage and complete most of their regulatory obligations within a single easy-to-use online system.

3.  Share best practices: In an effort to encourage other municipalities to join us in this effort, we are joining a community of practice administered by the National League of Cities, and commit to sharing best practices, publicizing key learnings, highlighting tangible outcomes, supporting smart regulatory simplification, and providing visibility into our actions.

White House Demo Day

Today, the Obama Administration also announced the official date for the very first White House Demo Day, which was seeking applicants earlier this year. On August 4th, inspiring individuals and entrepreneurs from across the U.S. will “demo” their individual success stories and highlight the various ways through which people have launched and scaled companies.

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Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things. Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in 'Doctor Who', Murakami, 'The Mindy Project', and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a "writer". Tweet @RonaldPBarba.

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