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Rep. Polis Organizes National Startup Day Across America for Members of Congress

Members of Congress and State and local elected officials visit startup companies in their home districts and states to learn about the impact of entrepreneurship

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Washington, Aug 29, 2013 | comments
Today, Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) organized Startup Day Across America, where numerous Members of Congress each visited a startup company in their home states and districts.
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Today, Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) organized  Startup Day Across America, where numerous Members of Congress each visited a startup company in their home states and districts.  Members of Congress connected with all facets of entrepreneurship, including incubators, venture capital firms, startup companies, and established tech companies, to learn about the impact entrepreneurship has on their communities. As founder and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Congressman Polis created this event, which seeks to connect Members of Congress with entrepreneurs throughout their home states so they can learn from one another. Research foundation and policy coalition Engine, 1776, UP Global, The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, The Global Accelerator Network, and T4A joined Congressman Polis and the Congressional Caucus on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in organizing Startup Day Across America.

“As founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Innovation and Entrepreneurship and a former entrepreneur, I know the importance that entrepreneurship has had on our economy,” stated Congressman Polis.  “But too many lawmakers don’t. This day provides an opportunity not only for Members of Congress to learn about the importance of start-ups in this country but also for entrepreneurs to cultivate vital relationships with lawmakers so they can understand the impact of federal policies on start-ups' ability to develop and thrive.”

As part of Startup Day, Congressman Polis visited Stuff ‘N Mallows, a company in Fort Collins started by three Colorado State University graduates originally as part of a class project. Responding to complaints that the chocolate in s’mores never melted fast enough in the time it takes to cook the marshmallow, the three founders created a stuffed marshmallow that adds all of the flavor without the hassle. Today, the Fort Collins company is taking orders from all over the country.

“It’s crazy to think of how far we have come from a project that started in our entrepreneurship class at Colorado State University” stated founders of Stuff ‘N Mallows James Schrack, Tyler Krenzelok and Paul Jenkins.  “We are excited to see how far we can take this,  in hopes we can turn our little mallow company into a national gourmet brand. We are so happy to be chosen to be a part of Startup Day Across America.”

At the visit, Congressman Polis stressed the importance startups like Stuff ‘N Mallows have on our economy. “Startups are our nation’s top job creators,” stated Congressman Polis. “Without entrepreneurs who turn ideas into new inventions or new industries employing millions of people, there would have been no new net growth in our country in the last 20 years. Venture backed startup companies employ more than 10% of American workers and are responsible for 21% of national GDP. That is 12 million jobs and over 3 trillion dollars in revenue.”

An entrepreneur himself, Congressman Polis created the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, co-chaired by Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA), Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Gary Peters (D-MI), to educate his colleagues on how the federal government can stimulate robust job-creating economic growth by fostering conditions that support entrepreneurs. The Caucus not only helps to connect Members of Congress with startup communities in their districts but also educates Members on the issues of importance to the startup ecosystem. Congress often enacts policies that have some indirect or direct impact on startups and entrepreneurs - from STEM education, to immigration reform, to removing unnecessary barriers and expanding access to capital for high-growth startups, to incentivizing innovation and research through the tax code, to tech policy such as patent reform and copyright protection. The Caucus was established to ensure federal policies help, and not impede, growth in the startup community.

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Tags: Economy

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