Last November, as part of his executive action announcement, President Obama introduced an Entrepreneur Pathways program (EPP) — which will serve as a “startup visa” for entrepreneurs who want to grow businesses and create jobs in America.
But we know this program can only be successful if the community has a say in the process. So FWD.us held roundtables with VCs, accelerators, immigrant entrepreneurs, and legal experts and carried out a national survey to crowdsource your great ideas. We recently compiled all of this information into a recommendation brief and submitted it to the White House.
The FWD.us brief outlines eligibility criteria for EPP based on investment, revenue, and job creation. We make four main recommendations:
- Give Priority to Entrepreneurs That Create American Jobs: Once an applicant qualifies for the Entrepreneur Pathways program, there should be a clear timeline in which the entrepreneur should be able to demonstrate that he/she has created economic opportunity for other Americans. If successful, the entrepreneur should be strongly prioritized to qualify for lawful permanent residency.
- Set Distinct Eligibility Criteria According To Applicants’ Backgrounds And Circumstances: Entrepreneurs come from all kinds of backgrounds — young STEM graduates, accelerator participants, entrepreneurs living abroad, and entrepreneurs who have been living and working in the U.S. for several years. Given the separate challenges facing each category of applicant, we provided different evaluation criteria for these different applicants.
- Use An Either/Or Approach In Evaluating Applicants: Applicants should be evaluated based on level of investment or revenue, but not both. For example, a company specializing in biotechnology may exceed the funding and job creation criteria, but because of extensive product approval processes, the company won’t be able to make revenue for several years. These applicants should still be considered strong candidates, as long as they meet a selection of the requirements rather than all of the requirements.
- Evaluate Job Creation Based On Different Stages of Business Development: When creating the suggested criteria for qualifying for the Entrepreneur Pathways program, we made adjustments according to the different entrepreneur candidates. For example, young STEM graduates and entrepreneurs enrolled in accelerator programs are often in the early stages of their businesses, and should be held to a lower job creation standard than a foreign entrepreneur applying to move her business to the United States.
By signing onto our brief, you will help us communicate the urgent need for this program. Every day, talented people are prevented from pursuing their dreams and contributing to the strength of our country, and our economy is missing out on the creation of American jobs. This is why the Entrepreneur Pathways program needs to be a priority for the White House. Help us show the Administration that the program has overwhelming support from members of the tech community, and that this is a program whose implementation we cannot afford to delay.
For further information about the Entrepreneur Pathways program, FWD.us’s role in providing community feedback to the White House, and the full text of our 11-page recommendation brief, please visit our website: http://www.fwd.us/pathways