Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Opportunity to Make a Difference: The Presidential Innovation Fellows Program

A little over two weeks ago, I came across a unique, and once in a lifetime public service opportunity while reading about start-ups, innovation and small business.  

President Obama’s senior White House technology advisors,  
U.S. CTO Todd Park (@todd_park) and U.S. CIO Steven VanRoeke (@stevenvDC), announced the launch of The Presidential Innovation Fellows program at TechCrunch Disrupt New York on May 23, 2012.  The venue selection for the release, a conference for innovators and entrepreneurs, was a telling sign about the Obama Administration’s thoughtful strategy, lofty objectives, and commitment to game changing solutions.
The program is looking for 15 “amazing innovators” who are interested in coming to Washington, DC for 6- to 12-month fellowships. They will work in small teams focused on the five project’s Park and VanRoekel announced earlier this week: MyGov, Open Data Initiatives, Blue Button for America, RFP-EZ and The 20% Campaign. The scope of these projects was chosen so the teams can “deliver significant results within six months.”  -
After learning about the program, I went online to further learn about the program. I reviewed descriptions of all of the initiatives and determined that my background, experience and passion would be best utilized on the RFP-EZ project.  
RFP-EZ aims to create a streamlined process for the federal government to do business with small high-growth companies. -
In December 2011, I was invited to a roundtable discussion in New York City with approximately 15 other entrepreneurs to meet with SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns and Sergio Fernandez de Cordova (@sfdecordova), a member of the SBA’s Council on Underserved Communities (CUC).  The conversation primarily focused on how the SBA can better assist small business win government contracts, gain access to capital, and better understand opportunities created by President Obama’s American Jobs Act.  I left the roundtable yearning to make a difference and questioned exactly how I would engage in architecting a game changing solution.

On May 25, 2012 while reading about The Presidential Innovation Fellows program and researching more about it, I realized how I was going to be part of the solution.  I was going to apply for a 2012 Presidential Innovation Fellowship. 

The Presidential Innovation Fellows program is an example of the Obama Administration’s commitment to Government 2.0 and innovative leadership.  The program provides a means of using the best minds and methods from the private sector, non-profits, academia, and government to develop game changing solutions.  

I encourage other passionate entrepreneurs and innovators of varied backgrounds and experiences to apply.  Applications are being processed this week.  

Apply at:

I hope to see you in Washington, DC in July!  

Jonathan B. Smith


Related Posts

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

SBA's Council on Underserved Communities is Listening to America's Entrepreneurs

I had the pleasure of meeting with SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns at an Entrepreneurial Roundtable in NYC this week to discuss the SBA's engagement with the entrepreneurial community.  It was a lively and passionate discussion and was well received by the round table.

For more about the Entrepreneurial Roundtable Click Here.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Pigeon in the Cabin

When i got on Continental Flight 107 on April 2, 2011 from EWR to IAH there was a pigeon flying in the rear of the cabin, hard to believe but true . I boarded early and the plane was not full at the time of the bird's antics. Naturally there was some chaos on the plane while the flight attendants tried to catch the errant bird / stowaway.

The flight attendants were unable to catch the bird. I jokingly called for an Air Marshal to no avail, though I did not expect support. Using my entrepreneurial mindset and resolve to solve the problem, I got up and took my overcoat and used it to catch and subdue the bird. I picked the bird up and successfully released it.

The plane did depart on time, mission accomplished.

Results Matter!

Birdman of Continental

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pentagon Invitation


Army Executive Outreach, Department of the Army, is offering outside groups a unique opportunity to gain insight into the Army. Groups of 12-25 are cordially invited to a "Fly-In" visit to the Pentagon where they can receive specialized Army briefings and gain personal insights into operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other national security issues confronting America's Army.

A typical "Fly-In" visit consists of a 4-5 hour itinerary with substantive briefings from Army leaders, a "Boots on the Ground" panel, guided Pentagon tour (including the Pentagon 9-11 memorial site and chapel), and a private lunch in the Executive Dining Room hosted by an Army Senior Leader. The cost of the transportation to and from the Pentagon is carried by the visiting party.

This opportunity also includes an invitation to the Army's premier "Twilight Tattoo", a time-honored tradition that blends the precision and discipline of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) with the orchestral sounds of The U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own." This show takes place at Fort McNair on the banks of the Potomac between 7 and 8.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Peter Drucker on Entrepreneurs

The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

From Zero to $100 Million - A Success Story

Tune in to learn how Jonathan Smith and his father launched their beach erosion barrier business in the early 1990s and ultimately landed a $100 million contract with the port of Abu Dhabi to protect strategic assets for them using their floating fence technology.

Rich Sloan interviews Smith and reveals the long but undeniable road to a whopping success story. Learn how a $5,000 investment in a search-engine-friendly website helped  them land their massive, nine-figure deal. Also learn about how Jonathan leaned heavily on his partnership with his father to endure the low points along the way.

This is a story about sticking to it, but not about making crazy sacrifices. Every step of the way, Jonathan was basing the will to press on on feedback and real potential being indicated by the marketplace.

Want inspiration? This is your podcast!

Learn about the company at


Wave Dispersion Technologies (UDM-Keen Interview Series)

2008-1210 Technical Entrepreneurship Case Studies 20080228