President Barack Obama today plans to host a Town Hall event at Facebook’s headquarters in Silicon Valley in a move to help promote entrepreneurship through the new Startup America program. In addition, the program is announcing $400 million in support from a wide array of companies, including Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Intuit, HP and others.

The funds and resources will be used to help finance, mentor and guide entrepreneurs, with Startup America noting that it will aid in fostering a robust “entrepreneurial ecosystem.” The release notes:

Many of today’s best companies started out just as an idea, and with the proper guidance will grow beyond the founders’ wildest dreams. In the future, today’s burgeoning small businesses will become mentors to the next wave of budding startups and the cycle will continue.

The event — which is being live streamed on The White House’s Facebook page — will get going at 1:45 p.m. today. Startup America is somewhat controversial, in part because some have questioned whether it is really government’s role to try to spark innovation and entrepreneurial activity.

Some big names in the tech business obviously disagree with that thesis. Here’s AOL founder Steve Case talking more about the program, which just launched a new Web site and is ramping up efforts to support entrepreneurs.

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  • don over taxed

    Enough coverage for this joker.

  • Anonymous

    It would be great if this initiative actually accomplished one of its stated goals–which was to reduce regulatory and legal burdens on startups. There are plenty of them…for example, doing away with the prohibition on general solicitation in reg D offerings would be very helpful.

  • William Carleton

    Joe’s a leader in calling out regulatory burdens on startups that are unnecessary and should be eliminated in the course of the Startup America public/private initiative. In many cases, startups are just in the crossfire of regulations which, applaud or question their merit as applied to big corporations, are overkill for new and emerging businesses. (Section 409A is a good example.)

    But Joe’s referencing the government/public policy half of this thing. The half you are linking to in your story, John, is, I think, the private part of the partnership, funded by private businesses and involving mentorship and other support for entrepreneurs and startups. I was pleased to see the announcement today that the Angel Capital Association (disclosure; I serve on a committee that advises the ACA public policy committee) and the Angel Resource Institute have joined the Startup America Partnership, intending to “double the number of high caliber investors in angel groups across the country, increasing annual investment by $1 billion.”

    One can throw stones and look for action behind the talk, but I think it’s too early to say, as “don over taxed” does (what is your real name “don over taxed” and what is it you fear about standing behind your own views?), that we’re paying too much attention to this. Even just setting goals is good. Even just having the conversation in a political atmosphere poisoned by corporatism, that is a good thing.

    I agree it’s not government’s place to train entrepreneurs or to fund them or to do any of the other things that it looks like the private, partnership side of Startup America means to do. But the federal government, separate and apart from Startup America, does have an important function to serve to support entrepreneurialism in America. Case in point: bigger corporate interests are trying to privatize the internet, and only government will have the ability to keep the internet a public commons. Government has other important responsibilities, such as with immigration policy, that impact startups.

  • Danielle Morrill

    I’ll start supporting this when it starts making a visible impact. For now, there are plenty of private initiatives more worth my time/money. If government would reduce regulation and get out of the way, NGOs would do the rest when it comes to getting capital to the entrepreneurs who need it.

  • Tim Reha

    Hi John,

    Good to see the new blog / biz up and rolling out a ton of great content. It is cool to see a startup covering startups.

    Scott Case was very positive to work with at DEMO Spring 2011 where we announced his new Startup America Partnership CEO position on stage. Then again to connect with the team at SXSW 2011 in Austin.

    Currently, the plan underway is to bring Startup America Partnership to Seattle late Spring 2011. The opportunity is to create an open forum for ideas and a channel to voice the NW’s entrepreneurial needs directly to the Startup America Team. Then we will create a platform for the NW entrepreneurial community and startups to gain national mindshare. Lastly, the goal is to provide valuable internships for NW students. After next Tuesday we will plan an organizing team meeting and invites to get the ball rolling.

    If anyone is interested to join me at TiECon 2011 in Santa Clara, there will be an opportunity to connect with Steve Case (key note) and the TiE Silicon Valley team. See: Tweet me @timreha if you want to go.

    The above represents a good opportunity to shine a light on the NW startup ecosystem and have our voices heard at the top levels of government. At the very least we will bring everyone together and make new relationships.

    Updates posted soon. Best, Tim Reha

  • Priya Alagiri

    It would be great if Obama could promote the Startup Visa Act as well in an effort to promote entrepreneurship. Thousands of highly intelligent, educated and innovative foreign citizens are returning home and boosting the economies there rather than here.

    • Tim Reha

      Long ago in 2004 at the World Ad Congress and China VC Summing in Beijing the USA brain drain was experienced first hand. Students from Ivey Leagues in the USA were not staying in the USA, they were going back home to go where the action was at from Shanghai to Dalian. What will change the tides is the simple cost of fuel and shipping of goods IMO. Perhaps even a more educated local consumer population who decides to place their dollars with a longer term local impact. Retirement is a thing of the past, so what happens in the next decade when the so called entitlement of retirement is a mirage and people at 65+ need to work and be taken care of? Everything we know today will be different and you will be riding carbon fiber long-boards for last mile transportation.

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