By Grace Austin
Are you a startup that needs help? Look no further than Startup America Partnership. Designed to aid young entrepreneurs, Startup America Partnership (SAP) hopes to provide jobs and put America at the forefront of innovation by encouraging young entrepreneurs with their small businesses. A nonprofit organization, SAP was founded in early 2011 by CEO Scott Case, founder of Priceline.com, Steve Case, AOL co-founder, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The organization names heavy hitters like American Express, Dell, Intuit, and Microsoft as corporate sponsors.
SAP identifies three kinds of startups they are helping, in ascending order of stages in the entrepreneurial process. The first, the startup, has at least two people with an “ambition to build a scalable company,” while the “rampup” has at least five employees and two customers, and the “speedup” at least 25 employees and an established revenue.
Interested entrepreneurs can register online at their website, s.co. Once a company is accepted, SAP provides them with resources from dedicated partners. These resources include mentoring opportunities from companies like Ernst & Young; discounted and free tools and services from partners; assistance in finding talented employees through advising and recruitment services; advertising opportunities like a Google AdWords credit; and potential capital from businesses like Intel.
SAP looks for entrepreneurs from all over the country and in any industry. Identifying communities of entrepreneurship by region is a major aspect of SAP’s mission. The organization is hoping to create “startup ecosystems” with grounded entrepreneurs reaching out to younger companies to help them grow at a grassroots level. They also hope to use a holistic community approach, reaching out to local universities, companies, and government to better aid young entrepreneurs.
Besides the Cases, noted entrepreneurs on the founding board include Tory Burch, CEO of the global lifestyle company bearing her name, Michael Dell, CEO of Dell, Reed Hastings, founder and CEO of Netflix, and Magic Johnson, former NBA player and entrepreneur. And with 9,857 startup members in September, the initiative seems to be accomplishing its goals of encouraging young companies.