Senators Introduce Startup Act 2.0

BY Heather Greenfield
May 24, 2012

Four Senators have introduced bipartisan legislation this week designed to improve the environment for startup businesses in the U.S.  The Startup Act 2.0 would create an entrepreneur’s visa for legal immigrants to remain in the US and start up a business as long as they hire a certain number of American workers.  The bill would also create a new STEM visa that would provide green cards for foreign students who earn graduate degrees from American universities in science, technology, engineering or math – rather than sending them home to compete against us.  In addition, this legislation would create tax incentives for investment in startup companies and a new tax credit for research and development by those companies.  Further the bill would accelerate the commercialization of taxpayer funded research.

Those sponsoring the bipartisan legislation are freshmen Senators Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Mark Warner, D-Va., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Chris Coons, D-Del.

Senator Warner noted that members of the group “did not get the memo”  that said they weren’t supposed to get anything done in an election year.  Sen. Moran wrote in an op ed in Politico this week that the legislation “also seeks to move taxpayer-funded university research more quickly to the marketplace, where it can propel economic growth. U.S. universities have historically been responsible for groundbreaking discoveries – spawning new industries and creating countless jobs.”

Steve Case, co-founder of AOL and now a member of President Obama’s Council on Jobs said the Startup Act “will help solidify America’s position as the world’s most entrepreneurial nation.”

Despite the potential boost to start up companies and jobs, passage of the bill is likely to be complicated by unrelated illegal immigration issues.

CCIA Vice President Cathy Sloan, who attended the news conference to introduce the Startup Act, said this legislation is vital to efforts to retain more of the best and brightest advanced degree recipients from our own universities to grow new businesses that create American jobs.  She said that this legislation helps respond to statistics that show that 25 percent of tech and engineering companies started between 1995 and 2005 had at least one foreign-born founder.

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