The current session of Congress is nearly over. And when future historians look back, they may rank it as one of the most transformative, especially when it comes to long-term economic development.

Congress passed several sprawling pieces of legislation — a bipartisan infrastructure bill, the Science and CHIPS package, and the Inflation Reduction Act — that will allocate tens of billions of federal dollars toward early-stage research, technology commercialization, and domestic manufacturing in sectors ranging from semiconductors and space exploration to biotechnology and advanced energy.

The bills are revolutionary. Not just because they fund early-stage research, something the federal government has done for generations, but because the legislation specifically encourages university and government labs to either license their discoveries to existing startup companies or launch their own companies to turn the insights into real-world products. This technology commercialization process creates jobs and makes our economy stronger.

This newfound focus on startups will vastly expand our economy and make it more equitable. At long last, government officials are finally, and correctly, viewing innovation and economic development as intertwined issues.

The U.S. has birthed the world's most impressive startups, many of which, like Tesla and SpaceX, initially benefited from support from the government and universities, and have since grown into paradigm-shifting firms.

But for every startup success story, there are significantly more tales of failure. In fact, 90% of startups fail.

This risk-taking is heartburn-inducing for entrepreneurs, but a blessing for our economy. Successful startups bring more affordable, better products and services to the market. Almost by definition, they disrupt entrenched corporations that have become too large to respond effectively to consumers' needs.

Many of our most innovative startups depend on venture capital investment to get off the ground. Venture capitalists are often intimately involved in every phase of a startup's lifecycle, from the concept planning stage to product development, to the operational, rollout, growth, and expansion stages, until finally the company goes public or is the willing target of an acquisition or merger.

The U.S. is already home to more than 2,000 venture capitalism firms managing over $440 billion in capital. This capital is being used to fuel the growth of more than 10,000 startups. On average, these firms create new jobs eight times faster than non-VC-backed companies.

In a sense, venture capital is the original impact investing. By devoting resources to new business ideas that have yet to prove themselves, venture capital firms wind up creating a more efficient and prosperous society.

Just think about how VC-backed Genentech launched the biotech industry in the late 1970s.

Or how biotech startup Moderna quite literally saved hundreds of thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars in economic activity with its vaccine. Moderna "was a VC-created startup, inside an incubator program run by Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Flagship Pioneering" as journalist Dan Primack has noted.

Last year alone, advanced energy and climate technology startups raised a record $32 billion in global investment to build technologies to address the climate crisis. That already sizable figure will hopefully increase in the years ahead, due in part to the billions of dollars for climate research and commercialization programs recently approved by Congress, including many supported on a bipartisan basis. Those programs will lead to breakthroughs in the lab and with the help of venture-backed startups, eventually result in transformative mass-market technologies that will provide economic opportunity for millions of Americans to help solve a global challenge.

Lawmakers are also looking to specifically capitalize on startups' job-creation potential by creating regional tech hubs through the new Science and CHIPS bill, which will direct money towards startups and innovation in the Heartland.

When I was growing up in Arkansas, the technology scene in places like Silicon Valley felt a world away.

But in today's world, everything is interconnected and investors' money doesn't stay on the coasts. More than six in 10 jobs created by VC-backed companies are located outside California, Massachusetts, and New York -- the three states typically associated with venture capital. Total employment at VC-backed companies surged 960% between 1990 and 2020, compared to a 40% jump in the private sector as a whole.

By not merely funding basic research, but ensuring that research is actually commercialized by startups, Congress is embracing a smart new approach to innovation. One that seeks to exploit unique American advantages during a massive global economic transition. And with the help of venture funding, Americans from all walks of life— from researchers at universities like the University of Arkansas, my alma mater, to scientists and blue-collar workers, to consumers in the smallest towns and largest cities — will contribute to and benefit from this effort.

Bobby Franklin is president and CEO of the National Venture Capital Association.