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ASU teams with White House on entrepreneurial initiative

February 15, 2012

ASU’s School of Public Affairs is teaming up with The White House on a national initiative to accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship and ignite future job creation.

ASU is leading a network of universities in response to the “Startup America Policy Challenge,” a national contest that challenges American entrepreneurs to unleash and identify high-impact ideas to help the U.S. government break down barriers to entrepreneurship and enable the use of clean energy, digital technologies, and health information technologies.

“This policy challenge harnesses the analytic power and creativity that is typically untapped," said Jonathan Koppell, director of ASU’s School of Public Affairs and dean of ASU’s College of Public Programs. "We’ve been pioneering the use of technology to broaden participation in governance at the ASU School of Public Affairs, and are excited to lead the university aspect of the White House’s Startup America Policy Challenge.

"The online portion is only the start, however, of a process that will ultimately seat contest finalists with federal policymakers. It is an innovation that will make the machinery of government far more accessible from the outside.”

In December 2011, the White House announced the national initiative and, in response, the ASU School of Public Affairs took action. They will lead a network of schools and organizations to mobilize students, scholars, practitioners and concerned public citizens from across the country to participate in the Startup America Policy Challenge. The challenge will allow participants to serve as entrepreneurial problem-solvers by identifying the best solution for administrative change to a particular public challenge and develop it into compelling policy proposals.

Finalists will be invited to participate in the finale in Washington, D.C., on May 18, 2012. They will present their full proposals to a panel of high-profile expert judges with backgrounds in government, industry and academia. The winning team(s) will be announced at the finale and their proposals will be shared with the Cabinet Secretary from the relevant federal agency.

Everyone who participates in this competition and submits a proposal will become a member of a pioneering community of problem-solvers – an interdisciplinary collaborative community bound by shared interests that extends beyond the life of the competition.

The challenge will be broken up into three stages:

• Stage 1: Short-Form Proposal (Open competition through April 2, 2012) – As an individual or a small team, submit a brief two-page proposal that critically evaluates a proposal solution for administrative change and develops a viable actionable plan of implementation. Any person who is eligible may participate.

• Stage 2: Long-Form Proposal (Closed finalist competition from April 16 to May 2012) – Short-form proposal finalists will be invited to submit a detailed proposal that elaborates on their initial proposal, paying particular attention to the feasibility of their ideas.

• Stage 3: Finale in Washington D.C., on May 18, 2012

Other universities participating in the policy challenge include Syracuse University, University of California-Berkeley, New York University, University of Maryland, University of Washington, George Mason University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

To learn more about The Startup America Policy Challenge, visit

To learn more about the ASU-led university response, visit