Every time I meet with a group of tech company CEOs they say the same thing: hiring world-class talent is one of their biggest challenges. They struggle to find, attract and retain the engineering, scientific and technical talent they need to grow their businesses.
So when I saw the results of our annual Startup Outlook survey this year, I was not surprised. While nine in ten startup executives said they were hiring, an equal number said it is challenging - or extremely challenging - to find workers with the skills they need.
Since technology startups have historically created 11 percent of all private sector jobs and 21 percent of US GDP, it's definitely in the best interest of the country to make sure we have a vibrant workforce, and that we increase the size of our tech-educated talent pool.
One of the ways to help is by fixing our immigration policy, but education is another important piece of the puzzle. Since some emerging fields require skills that schools didn't teach 5, 10, or 20 years ago, so is worker training. We need to create a tech-savvy, highly skilled American workforce - the more people with skills that are in demand, the better for all of us.
When it comes to immigration policy, we believe that Congress is well aware of the issues facing the technology industry, so the time to act is here.
Read the full Startup Outlook Report
Approximately half of all the startups in our 2013 survey had at least one immigrant on their founding team. Our future economic success depends on our ability to attract - and employ - talent from around the world.
Fixing this problem won't just help high-skilled tech workers. Two in three of the startups in the healthcare, cleantech, or hardware sectors said in our survey they either currently manufacture or plan to start manufacturing in the next 18 months. More than eight in ten said they'll do some or all of that manufacturing in the US, and most of those newly-created U.S. manufacturing jobs will go to people with high school educations and/or on the job training. But all that will only happen if those startups make it.
Considering the ripple effect that successful startups have on our economy, it is just good business sense to make it easier for them to succeed. Having spent a couple days on Capitol Hill last week, I am encouraged that members of Congress know what needs to be done, and are willing to make the necessary compromises to get a fix over the finish line.
If you run - or know of - a fast-growing company that finds it challenging to employ the world's best and brightest, we urge you to tell your story in the comments below. Even the voice of a small startup can have a large impact. We need to create and maintain a sense of urgency around getting this done.
Read more results from our Startup Outlook survey at svb.com/startup-outlook-report/. We look forward to your thoughts, as well as your participation next year.