Aug 24, 2011 at 12:04 PM
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Startup America Announces First Four Sponsors

The Startup America Partnership, an organization working to help young companies grow in order to create jobs in America, today announced the appointment of its founding board members, eleven of America's most successful and highly-regarded entrepreneurs, as well as its first four sponsors: American Express OPEN, Dell Inc., Intuit Inc., and Microsoft Corp. These companies will join the founding partners, the Case and Kauffman Foundations, to provide financial support and strategic resources to help the Partnership maximize the success of America's entrepreneurs.

"This world-class group of entrepreneurs understands the critical role that new and young businesses play in getting the American economy back on track," said Chairman Steve Case. "Their proven ability to conceptualize and scale companies, including the collective creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs, will be invaluable to the Startup America Partnership and the young firms we're trying to help."

In addition to Chairman Steve Case and founding board member, the founding board of the Startup America Partnership includes:

  • Tory Burch, CEO and CCO, Tory Burch LLC
  • Pamela Reilly Contag, CEO, Cygnet Biofuels
  • Michael Dell, Chairman and CEO, Dell, Inc.
  • Raul Fernandez, Chairman, ObjectVideo, Inc.
  • Reed Hastings, Chairman, President, and CEO, Netflix, Inc.
  • Reid Hoffman, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder, LinkedIn
  • Magic Johnson, Founder and CEO, Magic Johnson Enterprises
  • Lynn Jurich, President and Co-Founder, SunRun, Inc.
  • Kevin Plank, Chairman, President, and CEO, Under Armour, Inc.
  • Fred Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO, FedEx Corporation
  • Nina Vaca-Humrichouse, CEO, Pinnacle Technical Resources, Inc.

    "From 1980 to 2005, firms less than five years old were responsible for all net job creation in the U.S.," said Carl J. Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation. "However, new Kauffman research indicates that in recent years, young companies are starting smaller and staying smaller. This underscores how important this board's job is. These successful entrepreneurs and the Partnership's new sponsors are getting behind what I believe is the most important cause of our time -- reinvigorating the entrepreneurial energy that has grown our economy, expanded human welfare, and served as an example to economies around the world."

    The Partnership is focused on bringing together some of the country's most successful organizations to provide valuable resources to young companies with high growth potential. Those resources fall into five key areas that entrepreneurs find critical to success: Talent, Services, Expertise, Customers and Capital. The Partnership is also working on a regional basis to identify and help accelerate entrepreneurial ecosystems across the country. Since launching in January, the Partnership has announced more than $500 million in private-sector commitments to support startups.

    "Our core concentration is to drive job growth in America by helping startups grow," said CEO Scott Case. "By signing on American Express, Dell, Intuit and Microsoft as sponsors -- four organizations that are world-renowned for their innovation and dedication to young companies -- we can make sure that we are completely focused on getting entrepreneurs the tools and resources they need to succeed.