Innovate Celebrate: How to Support Startups, the Foundation of Our Economy

Innovate Celebrate: How to Support Startups, the Foundation of Our Economy

by Gary Shapiro

In many ways, the US economy is thriving in 2017: The unemployment rate is low, the stock market is breaking records and our economy is growing faster than at any time in the last two years.

At the same time, fewer startups are being created. And while many large companies are growing, almost every state experienced a drop in the number of new small businesses created in 2016, according to the Consumer Technology Association’s (CTA) Innovation Scorecard–an annual ranking of the 50 US states on their openness to innovation. (Only Maine and Nevada increased the net total of new companies in 2016).

How can the US economy achieve success while leaving some innovators and entrepreneurs behind? Stifling bureaucracy and an unfriendly legal environment are hamstringing today’s startups and small businesses.

Higher taxes leave less money for investment. Old laws can choke the next revolutionary consumer technology products, such as drones or self-driving vehicles. And outdated immigration laws limit companies from finding the right employees and discourage immigrant entrepreneurs.

Our nation needs new small businesses–these businesses generate three-fifths of all net new jobs and, with the right legal framework and funding, could produce hundreds of thousands of jobs. But absent this framework, many small businesses are never created or don’t survive after creation. According to the Small Business Association, only half of all small businesses last five years or longer.

To help support startups, CTA and TechCo Media will co-host our Innovate Celebrate Global Conference again this year. Our goal is simple: create a platform where the biggest names in tech interact with the world’s most cutting-edge startups. The three-day experience features keynotes, panels, workshops and other industry-focused events to get attendees thinking more strategically about success. To connect the larger businesses at the event with smaller ones, we have built in mentoring options, including one-on-one meetings and group discussions that can result in partnerships and collaborations.

Sometimes inexperienced CEOs undervalue the importance of face-to-face networking as they start. During my time leading CES®, the world’s largest tech event, I have witnessed startups make deals and develop connections they may have never made without getting out of the office. We hope Innovate Celebrate can help create these kinds of moments.

The event also features the Startup of the Year competition, which recognizes the year’s most impressive new entrepreneurs. In 2016, Shearshare, an app that allows salons and barbers to rent shop space, took the prize. Since then, the company joined a top-rated accelerator program and reported solid growth after launching due to its exposure to investors and top talent. In the past, the competition also has highlighted platforms for job recruitment and employee benefits.

We owe it to companies such as Shearshare to provide an environment where they can create what is best for not only them, but also our nation’s economy. Each year, we see our investment pay off, as entrepreneurs talk to each other, working toward similar goals of making their dream business a reality.

Register for Innovate Celebrate now to be a part of this exciting three-day experience and join the industry-wide effort to encourage economic growth, ingenuity and innovation.

Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™. His views are his own. Connect with him on Twitter: @GaryShapiro

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