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Businesses invest in America

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An initiative spearheaded by Intel Corporation and 24 venture capital firms may ease some Stanford seniors’ stress as they struggle to find jobs after graduation, now just over three months away.

The new plan, called the Invest in America Alliance, hopes to boost the nation’s competition in the global economy and create jobs, according to Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini.

According to Intel’s Web site, many of the participating corporations have joined in an effort to create 10,500 new jobs for college graduates. Enlisted corporations include Adobe Systems, Dell Inc., eBay, Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft.

Announced last month, the plan is expected to use a two-part approach to increase the United States’ productivity: venture capital investment and college graduate hiring.

Several leading venture capital investment firms have joined Intel in the effort, including Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), a firm based in Silicon Valley.

“We at DFJ are joining the Alliance to invest in the U.S. in hopes that the U.S. continues to be a competitive country with respect to attracting entrepreneurs and venture capital,” wrote Timothy Draper, the firm’s CEO, in an e-mail to The Daily.
The first goal of the Alliance is to invest more in startups and to foster “entrepreneurial spirit.” Approximately $3.5 billion has been committed to invest in the most innovative new ventures in the country.

The new investments are forecasted to keep the innovation engine “well-fueled,” according to Steve Wright, vice president of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which represents 300 Valley companies.

“The Alliance is putting up the money that will help fund not just research but also hiring so they can come up with newer technologies,” Wright said.

Wright said that the plan could help uncover the “next big thing.”

“These people are trying to think of what’s next after [clean tech],” he said. “They’re putting a good investment into the future. Many younger, out-of-college minds have led to much of the technology that has driven the innovation economy.”

Draper said venture capital firms have been investing less in startups in recent years, but plans to turn that trend around are on the horizon.

“Venture capital gives entrepreneurs the ‘rocket fuel’ they need to launch their visions, build their teams and grow their companies,” Draper said.

“This may be the best time ever for Stanford students or graduates to start businesses,” he added, “since people are willing to do a lot for a little, and there will be fewer competitive startups since money is so difficult to come by.”

According to Draper, the Alliance’s initiative will also encourage corporations and businesses to hire more college grads.
This may be good news for Stanford students, said Lance Choy, the director of Stanford’s Career Development Center.

“Venture capital is also one of the best job creators in the economy,” Draper said. “Given the different economic environment we have in the U.S., we believe a healthy venture capital industry is critical for the coming recovery.”

“Many of the established companies have agreed [to use these investments] to hire more graduated students so they can bolster their research and development departments,” Wright added.

According to Wright, about 40 to 50 percent of all venture capital in America is invested in Silicon Valley.
However, Choy pointed out, the plan’s expected benefits are not the end-all solution. According to him, the job market is better than last year but still tough.

“Students have to work harder, longer and smarter to find job opportunities,” Choy wrote in an e-mail to The Daily.
Beverly Principal, assistant director of employment services at the CDC, agreed that the job market is competitive and urges students to seek guidance.

“I venture a guess that [the job market] will be that way for a while,” Principal said.

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