Events News Washington DC

White House Demo Day: President Obama to Host Startups Later Today

Over the course of his administration, President Obama has proven to be a strong ally and advocate for startups. The President has championed many initiatives aimed at making it easier for startups to do business in the U.S. These initiatives include the Startup in a Day program – a call on cities to make the incorporation process easy and quick; fostering and cultivating relationships with startup incubators across the county; hosting and sponsoring coding classes and programs across the country; and sponsoring new clean-tech initiatives, to name a few. Well you can add another initiative to that list. Way back in March, the administration announced that they would be hosting the first ever Whit House Demo Day. This event, however, will be unlike any of the private sector and accelerator demo days:

At a typical “Demo Day,” entrepreneurs make pitches to prospective funders. Ours is a little different. We’re inviting a diverse group of entrepreneurs from all across the country — including those underrepresented in entrepreneurship like women and people of color — to come here and talk about their big ideas and share the stories of their individual innovation journeys to date. These are the folks whose stories show exactly why we need to grow the pie to make sure there’s opportunity for everyone in our innovation economy.1

Obama-Twitter White House Demo Day: President Obama to Host Startups Later Today

President Obama answering questions on Twitter, Via The White House Facebook Page

The White House Demo Day – taking place today (August 4th) at 3:40 pm EST; you can watch the event on WhiteHouse.gov/live – is further evidence of this administrations advocacy on behalf of startups and small businesses. A post in The White House Blog by Jeff Zients – the Director of the National Economic Council – and Megan Smith – U.S. Chief Technology Officer – does a good job of highlighting the motivation for the demo day, and more broadly the administrations’ focus on startups:

Why are we focused on inclusive entrepreneurship? Because the economic argument is as compelling as the moral one. U.S. Census data show that minority entrepreneurs are the fastest-growing entrepreneurial segment in the country — in the decade between 1997 and 2007, minority-owned firms grew four times faster than their non-minority-owned counterparts. Despite the existing barriers in place, women are majority owners of an estimated ten million businesses — or 36 percent of all businesses in the United States — with annual economic impact estimated at nearly $3 trillion. We can’t afford to leave entrepreneurial talent that exists in every region of the country untapped and unfunded.2

AMA White House Demo Day: President Obama to Host Startups Later Today

President Obama’s AMA verification photo, Via Imgur

President Obama himself, during his AMA before the 2012 election, addressed the goals and motivations as well. Below is the President’s response to a question from u/PartyInYourMouth: “How are you going help small businesses in 2013 and 2014? and what if any bills are you going to implement for small businesses, in 2013, and 2014?”

We’ve really focused on this since I came into office – 18 tax cuts for small business, easier funding from the SBA. Going forward, I want to keep taxes low for the 98 percent of small businesses that have $250,000 or less in income, make it easier for small business to access financing, and expand their opportunities to export. And we will be implementing the Jobs Act bill that I signed that will make it easier for startups to access crowd-funding and reduce their tax burden at the start-up stage.3

For more info, check out WhiteHouse.gov/demo-day. You can watch the event, beginning at 3:40 pm EST at WhiteHouse.gov/live.

  1. Megan Smith and Doug Rand, The White House Blog, “Join Us: White House Demo Day,” 21 April 2015  
  2. Jeff Zients and Megan Smith, The White House Blog, “Showcasing America’s Entrepreneurial Story at the First White House Demo Day,” 11 March 2015  
  3. President Obama, Reddit AMA response, 29 August 2012