July 28th, 2010
08:15 PM ET
13 years ago

White House taps young entrepreneurs to get things done

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/28/whitehouse.entrepreneurs.jpg caption ="Young entrepreneurs meeting at the White House."]Washington (CNN) – Senior White House officials huddled Tuesday with a group of tech-savvy, hyper-connected "Generation Y" and "millennial" leaders, CNN has learned.

The day-long meeting was with 70 young entrepreneurs, entertainers, philanthropists and local leaders between the ages of 18 and 35.

"It's all about networks," said attendee Mike Del Ponte, the Founder & CEO of Sparkseed which funds college students who have ideas for start-ups intended to improve society. "Legislation can take years, but the next-gen leaders who met at the White House can move mountains with a quick phone call, or even a tweet."

The White House wanted to help foster partnerships amongst the young leaders and gain more traction for White House public-private partnerships and initiatives such as Let's Move, Educate to Innovate, and the Recovery Act. Senior administration officials met with the young leaders from organizations big and small such as Sparkseed, Facebook, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Rockefeller Foundation.

It was the first time the White House has brought together such a cross section of young leaders whose influence is not normally courted by government officials in this way.

The White House hopes that those who participated left Washington ready to work together within their communities to promote the three partnerships. Already, individual participants have planned follow-on conferences in their states to galvanize support, build momentum, and address local challenges, according to White House policy adviser Howard Buffett, who works for President Obama's Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.

"The Administration recognizes that the success of its priorities relies on the government's ability to partner with individuals from across the country," said Buffett, who organized the meeting along with his colleague Matt Tranchin of the White House Office of Public Engagement.

"Our future rests in the hands of this nation's next generation of leaders, and their ability to successfully empower communities to create, elevate, and sustain community solutions," Buffett said.

He added, "The message to participants was simple: the energy, ingenuity, and assets of the next generation can catalyze the innovation required to develop new solutions to old problems, and the White House is here to inspire and empower."

Follow Eric Kuhn on Twitter @KuhnCNN

Filed under: White House
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. ronnie gresham

    This is a fantastic idea. I hope this process will conrinue

    July 28, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  2. Cimmerian

    As America struggles to re-ignite the dimming spark of creativity and innovation, I fully back the efforts of the Obama White House to boost homegrown entrepreneurship. On a related note, I recently read a remarkable blog post on creativity and innovation — Google or Yahoo “the role of psychological distance in creativity and innovation” and have a read. It brings together significant recent studies on the subject, some very insightful.

    July 28, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  3. Dan

    It takes kids with a vision like Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates, to start their visions in garages.
    Not to be forced together on the tax-payer dole. These kids are just going to be too snobbish and turn each other off because of their pretentiousness.

    July 28, 2010 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  4. vwrtb

    Idiot democrates! They should be asking Nike how to create good paying domestic jobs! Living wage has remained stagnant over the last 30 years... About the same time you republicans destroyed the unions... There is no incentive for companies to compete for your employment anymore... When you side with republicans you have just entered the race to the bottom... Have fun waiting my tables... I'd like another ice tea now... and since in an old dinosaur republican I don't tip! I got my pension... To heck with everyone else including my kids and grandkids!

    July 28, 2010 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  5. reggie from la

    Yes. Yes Yes.
    More. More. More of this.
    When they move their jobs overseas, they should be replaced by these start up entrepreneurs to compete with their imports and name names. . Whenever companies stop hiring because paying taxes cuts into their enormous profits and looks like socialism, they should have to compete for business with companies who want to expand and hire Americans. Corporations are holding us hostage in too many instances. Damn, they plan to buy even more politicians than ever before with the SCOTUS on their team. As for you start ups, pay attention and please don't plan to run amok for your pocket's sake. Plan to be good stewards of business for your country's sake.

    July 28, 2010 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |

    For the Tea Party freaks, the Repukes, and Libertariantards: this is what community organizing looks like. Say something. Oh, you can't? Still waiting for your talking points from Rush Limbaugh? Glenn Beck?

    July 28, 2010 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  7. Keith in Austin

    Why not seek advice from already-successful business people with years of experience vs. "Tech savvy Gen Xers"?? Maybe because they are young Progessives? Mold them well Comrade Barry!

    July 28, 2010 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  8. u2canfail

    What a wonderful idea! A group of young folks, tech savy, giving ideas! This is the next generation. I don't remember any other White House doing this.

    July 28, 2010 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  9. The reality is...

    yes, the reality is this administration will do anything to get the youngsters into their clutches before they are old enough to discover the wolf in sheep's clothing. Poor kids; hopefully they'll see the light before it's too late.

    July 28, 2010 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  10. W.B

    They only people not nerves in this economy is small business. They see the opportunity to fill the hole big business is sitting on. Let's pass massive jobs bill.

    July 28, 2010 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  11. T'SAH from Virginia

    You will be surprise how much young Americans have to offer. It will NOT be about saying NO to everything – but YES to solutions!!!

    Same problem we have with teachers. When there is a CUT – the young teachers are out and the OLD FARTS remain. We lose good teachers when that happens!

    President Obama – smart move!!!

    July 28, 2010 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  12. Ndubueze Chuku

    Good Move. All hands must be on deck.

    July 28, 2010 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  13. gr

    The young is the President base. It I think they love the President and will be the onces that put a stop to racist.

    July 29, 2010 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  14. Ready for 2012

    What is this going to do to lower the unemployment rate among experienced workers aged 40 and up?

    July 29, 2010 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  15. clark1b

    amazing .... all of the greedy people are in business and corporations! how can the WH betray us by employing the skills of entrepeneurs? they will sabotage all of our big government socialist plans and agenda.

    July 29, 2010 01:02 am at 1:02 am |