'Startup America' to focus on mentoring entrepreneurs, matching private investments

"Startup America is really much bigger than the individual initiative. It's a cross-administration and nationwide call to action for leaders of all sectors and industries to come together around entrepreneurs and help them win the future," said Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills in a conference call with reporters.

The SBA will direct $2 billion to match capital from private sector investors who fund small firms that are in under-served communities or work in high growth areas like clean energy technology.

Mills said the money would be directed through the SBA's existing investment programs and the applicants would be mostly traditional investors and venture capitalists.


Intel has already pledged $200 million for investments in U.S. firms, while IBM ($150 million) and HP ($4 million) also promised funding for programs aimed at encouraging entrepreneurs.

The SBA is also partnering with the Department of Energy to expand mentorship programs that link young firms with experienced entrepreneurs in their local communities, again focusing on clean energy and technology startups.

AOL co-founder Steve Case will be leading the public-private partnership, which will also include an advisory council of technology industry leaders. SBA will partner with a number of startup mentorship and accelerator programs including TechStars, considered a leader in the field.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke also detailed a new program that will allow technology entrepreneurs who need patents to secure funding to obtain a patent within a year, rather than the three years it takes currently.