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In the State of the Union address last night, President Barack Obama sent a message to small business owners: Your innovative ideas are key to recharging the American economy.

What wasn’t discussed much was the way the Obama administration plans to offer much of its stimulus for innovation. Recently passed legislation will shift much of the government’s funding for innovation into contests that award prizes, rather than straightforward grants.

The change came in the reauthorization of the America Competes Act, which was part of the crush of last-minute legislation passed at the end of last year. Where previously, much of the funds the federal government uses to reward innovative companies in science, technology, engineering, and related fields has been through a grant-application process, that’s changed now. Read the rest of this entry »


By: Marshall Kirby, Public Policy Analyst


President Obama announced that November 14-20 is Entrepreneurs Week in America.  This announcement coincides with The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Week.  Highlighting the success of small businesses at shaping and empowering the nation’s economy and providing job growth and innovation, President Obama has also highlighted aspects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the Small Business Jobs Act aimed at providing funding, tax credits, and resources to the Small Business Administration (SBA) and enterprises all across the nation.

In a time of recession, small businesses can provide a catalyst to the economy and alter local and regional economies.  Despite the credit crisis and a downturned economy, entrepreneurship is still a viable option for many, and educating the public about resources available to current and would be entrepreneurs should be a priority.  In past years, the SBA has had remarkable success at helping the economically underprivileged, women, and minorities the help and resources they need to begin and produce the American Dream for millions of people.  Let’s hope that President Obama’s announcement sparks a new wave of entrepreneurial spirit which can boost the economy and prosperity of our nation’s communities.

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