Long Island venture capitalist David Calone. (Feb. 24, 2011)

Long Island venture capitalist David Calone. (Feb. 24, 2011) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Long Island venture capitalist David Calone has played a key role in getting local business and political officials involved in a brand new caucus in Congress aimed at sparking innovation and entrepreneurship.

Calone, founder of Babylon-based Jove Equity Partners, helped organize a kickoff conference call last week of business and political leaders who wanted to take part in the caucus, a bipartisan group of about 30 House and Senate members.

According to Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton), one of those members, the caucus plans to focus on start-up companies and how they can best be aided by federal legislation.

"This is one of the rare instances where you have members of both parties in Congress working together," Calone said. "We have a lot of research going on here" at Long Island labs and universities. "How can the federal government be more supportive?"

Bishop said many think of job creation as coming from Fortune 500 companies. "But much of job creation comes from start-ups" and small companies, he said.

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), an organizer of the caucus, has already introduced a bill -- the Startup Act 2.0 -- to encourage start-ups to grow. One element of the measure would create a visa to allow U.S.-educated foreign students who earn a master's or doctorate in the sciences, technology, engineering or math to receive a green card to remain in the country.

In an interview, Polis said, "Start-ups are not just Democratic or Republican issues. Both parties have not done enough" to help.

Long Island Association president Kevin Law said he supports the caucus. "The more people we get talking about a new innovative economy, the better," Law said.

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