Reps. Peters, Swalwell Announce Bills to Support Student Innovation during Day of ‘Congressional Future Forum’ Visits
SAN DIEGO – Today, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15) announced two pieces of legislation designed to spur student incubators and entrepreneurship. The announcement was made after the Congressmen toured UC San Diego’s Qualcomm Institute where they saw demonstrations from student companies who had used the incubator to start and grow their companies. Peters and Swalwell also held a student town hall where they answered questions from students on issues ranging from starting your own business to making college more affordable.
“Students at universities in San Diego and across the country have creative and new ideas that they want to turn into innovative products,” Rep. Peters said. “Unfortunately, many students burdened by student loan debt and facing competitive job markets abandon entrepreneurship, which is harming our economy and our ability to compete in the global marketplace. Effective student incubators can change that, and these bills will help universities across the country provide the support that students need – from shared work space to marketing – to launch a successful business.”
Swalwell, who represents East Bay, is in San Diego as Chair of the Future Forum, a group of the youngest Democratic Members of Congress focused on bridging the gap between Congress and young Americans by discussing student debt, future job opportunities, and entrepreneurship. The Future Forum was launched in April, and San Diego is the 8th city that it has visited.
“Because of rising student loans, entrepreneurship among young Americans is at 24-year-low. We shouldn’t let student loan debt hold millennials back from pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams,” said Rep. Swalwell. “Universities and colleges can provide the perfect environment to foster innovation and entrepreneurship. However, many schools lack the resources to invest in an incubator. I’m honored to join Scott Peters to introduce legislation to give more students opportunities to get businesses off the ground.”
“The University of California San Diego commends Rep. Peters for his proactive focus on the promising intellectual capacity resident in our students and faculty through incubators and accelerators on campuses such as UC San Diego,” said Angela Phillips Diaz, Executive Director of Government Research Relations at UCSD. “Raising the visibility of these promising enterprises and the critical role they play in economic development and furthering US competitiveness by enhancing the collaboration between the innovation and intellectual talent resident at our universities directly with the business community can generate impactful results. This legislation can serve as a pivotal leverage point for incentivizing the creation of new accelerators and incubators like the QualComm Institute at UC San Diego.”
This afternoon, Peters and Swalwell visited Zeeto, a digital marketing startup in Downtown San Diego. After a tour, the members held a forum with local startup founders about the challenges of starting a business in California and to hear policy recommendations on how to make our state more friendly to entrepreneurs.
Background on the bills announced by Reps. Peters and Swalwell:
Start-Up America’s Students Act – Would establish a competitive grant program to provide funding to eligible institutions for establishing, maintaining, expanding, and improving upon business incubators operated by or affiliated with universities and colleges. With this funding, universities and colleges would be able to provide a space for shared resources, institutional knowledge, and technical support to help new and startup businesses.
Building Opportunities for Student Startups (BOSS) Act – To better understand the role played by incubators, the BOSS Act would study the role incubators and accelerators, including those based at universities, play in the commercialization of federally-funded research and regional economic development. It would compare outcomes and identify best practices from leading accelerators and incubators around the country.