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Startup Day 2014: Celebrating the Work of Startups and Government Together

Brandon Pollak

Head of Global Affairs, 1776

Today in communities across the U.S., Members of Congress are visiting with startups that are fueling our nation’s economy. For the second year in a row, 1776 is proud to co-sponsor Startup Day Across America with the Congressional Caucus on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Since we opened our doors in April 2013, 1776 has highlighted the profound impact startups have on our economy to the Obama Administration, members of Congress and Capitol Hill staff, governors, mayors and international leaders. We have curated roundtable discussions, briefings, a Startup Government conference and fireside chats. Collaboration between startups and government can lead to innovative solutions to tackle our biggest challenges in education, energy, health and cities.

Dozens of policy leaders have visited 1776 including President Barack Obama, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, Senator Marco Rubio, Congressman Darrell Issa, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and Queen Rania of Jordan. Our team and members provide policymakers with valuable insights on building and growing startup ecosystems, disruptive industry trends, unlocking community assets and key issues most important to scaling their company.

High-growth startups are based in all corners of this country, allowing our policymakers to have direct access to innovative companies right in their state or district. While Silicon Valley will always churn out game-changing companies like Google, Facebook or Uber, a trip to the West Coast is no longer a requirement to become educated on technology trends.

We witnessed this first hand during our global Challenge Cup competition this past year where we saw startups focused on personalized cancer care in Chicago; developing real-time chemical analysis of fracking water in Houston; revolutionizing disaster response by building the “iPhone for portable housing” in Austin; and harnessing technology to “flip classrooms” to empower teachers for better student outcomes right here in the D.C. area. And we haven’t even discussed the amazing startups outside of the U.S.!

Traditionally, policymakers have come from around the world to Washington, D.C., for the usual public policy activities, such as meetings with Administration officials and Members of Congress, to attend annual conferences or speaking engagements. Now more than ever, elected officials are hungry to confront major problems through new technologies, and Washington, D.C., has become even more of a hot spot to find innovative solutions as all stakeholders from the startup, policy and corporate communities, in addition to industry thought leaders, are present.

1776 actively convenes these groups to maximize opportunities for finding the best outcomes and shared practices. This has led to significant opportunities for our members to partner directly with stakeholders, and likewise for policymakers to apply that knowledge to improving outcomes for its citizens.

So what’s next? Startups are developing new innovations and creating jobs everyday, and therefore policymakers at all levels should be working closer with entrepreneurs to bolster our economy. At 1776, we are bullish on the future of education, energy, health, transportation and other critical industries where massive change is needed. We will continue to educate, convene and connect entrepreneurs with policymakers—because every day for us is startup day.

Brandon Pollak

Head of Global Affairs, 1776

Brandon Pollak is part of the founding team of 1776 and serves as Head of Global Affairs. He leads market strategy and outreach to influencers, including corporate CEO’s and Chief…