Today, as the House begins debate on the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (‘JOBS’ Act), one of America’s most successful entrepreneurs, Steve Case, is urging members to “seize the moment”.
The AOL founder and member of the President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness has been vocal in support of this measure. “The fact that the White House and leaders in Congress are focusing on entrepreneurship is important," Case told CNBC.com
“Based on the substance, the Act has solutions to help the entrepreneur. This is a start. Over the last decade there has been an ongoing decline in the amount of companies going public and that's large in part because of Sarbanes-Oxley. Crowdfunding is just one of the several measures designed to strengthen and encourage small businesses."
President Obama praised the bill, which has bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. D.C. insiders tell CNBC.com it has a very good chance of passing, and Case is cautiously optimistic. “We are in the red zone but we need to push the ball over the goal line. I'm holding off popping the champagne."
While pleased with the momentum, Case said that immigration laws still need to be reformed in order to attract more entrepreneurs. "It's a big problem," he said. "The data from Ernst & Young says nearly half of successful startups were founded by first- or second-generation immigrants. That's significant. We are losing them to other countries who are welcoming them."
Case said he has seen the globalization of entrepreneurship grow over the past decade. "[The U.S. is] seeing a flight of talent as well as capital," Case said. "Accel has more [venture capital] in China now than in Silicon Valley. Singapore and Israel are both aggressive in becoming startup nations. These countries and others have realized the secret sauce to the U.S. economy is the startup companies."
With the President and Congress are knee-deep in election-year politicking, Case does not expect any legislation this year.
"Immigration is not a wonky debate," he said. "It's about strategically creating an entrepreneurial nation. I am hopeful that a broader legislation package for entrepreneurs will get passed, and if the immigration issue is left out, I hope that it will push Congress and Administration to also try to get something done separately around that particular issue.”
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