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Startup Agenda

Startup Agenda Principles

Innovative, high-growth companies face many challenges, including onerous legal and regulatory hurdles.  TechNet remains committed to lowering barriers to help startup companies succeed on their merits.  TechNet supports policies to encourage the development of entrepreneurship, mobile commerce, and the next wave of innovation in the new economy. 

Startups create jobs faster than traditional companies, and many of those jobs pay well above median wages.  According to Census Bureau data, firms in their first five years of life in 2014 created 2.2 million jobs, even after netting out failures and closures.  By comparison, firms older than five years created only 450,000 jobs.  So, startups created jobs at more than five times the rate of traditional companies.

Access to Talent

The modern American workforce requires a flexible employment environment that allows workers to find opportunities that best match their skills, interests, and availability. 

  • TechNet opposes efforts to eliminate or severely restrict this essential flexibility, including restrictions on the use of independent contractor and consultant classifications, inflexible overtime rules, and the indiscriminate expansion of collective bargaining rules. 
  • TechNet supports efforts to develop new avenues and “safe-harbors” that empower companies to provide benefits to workers without impacting classification outcomes.

Access to Capital and Markets

Startups thrive when they have access to capital and markets.  State and federal policymakers can improve the capital allocation process through targeted reforms to regulations and tax laws.  TechNet supports:

  • Federal policies that create “venture exchanges.”
  • Tax reforms that allow employees of private companies to defer the tax associated with the exercise of their personal equity until they sell the underlying shares and thus have the cash to pay the tax.
  • State-level policies that encourage crowdfunding.
  • The permanent exclusion of federal and state capital gains taxes on investments in startup businesses that are held for more than five years.
  • Innovative tax credits that can apply to other tax requirements beyond corporate income tax obligations.
  • A smart regulatory approach that requires state and federal regulators to review any regulation’s impact on startup companies and new business creation.
  • Tax reforms that allow startup companies and their employees to hold and sell their stock options and grants at appropriate tax valuations.
  • International trade agreements that reduce market access barriers for digitally delivered goods and services, promote the free flow of data across borders, and contain safe harbors against intermediary liability and strong protections for intellectual property.

Access to Innovation

Public policy should help startups move projects efficiently from the idea phase to the new business phase.  TechNet supports:

  • The exploration of new ownership models, including co-ownership between inventors and universities.
  • The creation of a National Innovation Foundation — modeled after the National Science Foundation — to focus on innovation and technology commercialization.
  • Patent litigation reform that levels the playing field to promote innovation in all sectors of the economy and minimize frivolous litigation.
  • Procurement reform at the local, state, and federal levels that acknowledges the evolving technology landscape and enables governments to purchase and utilize innovative and secure products on a technology-neutral basis.
  • Efforts to open insurance markets to competition.

Immigration Reform

The world’s most talented innovators and entrepreneurs should be able to stay in the U.S. and contribute to the economy, rather than be forced out to start competitor businesses in competitor nations.  TechNet supports:

  • An increase in the total number of H-1B visas.
  • The removal of per-country green card caps.
  • The creation of a new STEM visa for foreign students who have earned master’s degrees or above. 

Education Reform

An educated, diverse American workforce is the lifeblood of the innovation economy.  TechNet supports:

  • Consistent short- and long-term funding for STEM and computer science courses.
  • Strong standards and rigorous assessments to better evaluate what and how students are learning.
  • Programs that ensure principles of computer science, computational thinking, and STEM skills are integrated in other areas of K-12 instruction.
  • Effective professional development and new teacher training programs to train high-quality STEM and computer science teachers.
  • Policies and programs that focus on providing STEM education and career opportunities for female and minority students.
  • School and public-private programs, such as robotics clubs, that emphasize hands-on, inquiry-based learning to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.
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