Senators Hassan, Hawley Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Startups Thrive
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced a bipartisan bill to support innovative startups across the country by establishing a competitive grant program for incubator networks. Incubators help startups by providing resources such as low-cost space, access to capital, business counseling, and mentorship opportunities during their early stages of development. According to a study conducted for the Economic Development Administration, investment in business incubators has a large impact on community economic development, with investment in incubators creating 20 times more jobs than other community investment projects.
“When innovative Granite Staters have an idea for a new business, incubators can play a critical role in helping transform those startups into successful small businesses,” said Senator Hassan. “As part of my ongoing commitment to helping innovative businesses thrive in New Hampshire and across the country, I introduced this bipartisan bill so that incubators can team up to give even more support to the startups that they work with.”
“From rural areas to cities, small businesses are a key source of jobs and innovation in our economy. But new small businesses face particular challenges in rural areas,” said Senator Hawley. “This bill aims to help fix that. By expanding the reach of much-needed resources to help guide rural entrepreneurs, this legislation will help transform more rural startups into successful small businesses.”
Senator Hassan and Hawley’s Incubator Network and Startup Success Act would create an annual competitive grant program within the Economic Development Agency’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The bill would allocate $2 million in annual funding to provide competitive grants of $50,000 to each incubator that is a member of a current or planned network. Networked incubators would be required to raise private capital to match the award 1-to-1 and to demonstrate that awards could be successfully leveraged to expand access to the programs available throughout the network – including in rural areas.
Senator Hassan has long made promoting entrepreneurship and supporting innovative businesses a top priority. During her time as governor, she laid out and implemented her Innovate NH plan - including working to hold down the cost of higher education, increasing and making permanent the state R&D tax credit, and launching the award-winning Live Free and Start initiative. As senator, she has introduced a bipartisan bill to expand the federal R&D tax credit for new and small businesses and has hosted an annual Innovate NH Entrepreneurship Forum. The first bill that Senator Hassan introduced in the Senate was the Reigniting Opportunity for Innovators Act, which would help provide student loan relief for entrepreneurs.
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