woman leaning against a brick wall in a white jacket

A note from our editor, Elizabeth MacBride

I’m thrilled to say that Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square (Block), founder of Invisibly and deputy chair of the St. Louis Federal Reserve, is joining us at our first Times of E event. I’ll interview him on the first day about innovation, data and fair finance. Join us for that and other great panels:

• Reimagining capitalism with the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship
• Making the case for The New Builders, the next generation of entrepreneurs, with Seth Levine
• The Top 20 University Entrepreneurship Competitions, sponsored by YouNoodle
• Where to find funding for student entrepreneurs, and how to ask
• AND a rare honest discussion around how to navigate the business world as a woman (with Stacey Vanek Smith and Dina Sherif).

We have a few more free FoundersClub memberships to give out. Sign up for the event here: https://hopin.com/events/challenges-met-opportunities-for-the-future

Iterations of Hope

I used to read my children a wonderful book, My Ol’ Man, by Patricia Polacco, one of those authors who turns children’s books into literature by making reality, with all its joys, hopes and fears, manageable for children.

My Ol’ Man was about a traveling salesman who kept his hope alive – magically – during the Great Depression and ended up as a radio host, sharing stories of hope with others.

We call that generation, those who sustained their humanity through the Depression and World War II, “The Greatest.” Look at this story by Skyler Rossi about glass recyclers in New Orleans if you want a dose of sparkly hope this week.

And take a moment to consider whether this generation, coming of age during the pandemic, who will need to face down climate change and political hatred, will be another Greatest. I believe they will.

Deep in the deadly, bitter winter of the Northern Hemisphere, I’m also keeping in mind the wisdom of certain elders. Here’s Vaclav Havel, who suggested that there is another kind of hope, which I think awakens for most people as they age.

Hope … is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed. The more unpromising the situation in which we demonstrate hope, the deeper that hope is. Hope is not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. In short, I think that the deepest and most important form of hope, the only one that can keep us above water and urge us to good works, and the only true source of the breathtaking dimension of the human spirit and its efforts, is something we get, as it were, from “elsewhere.” It is also this hope, above all, that gives us the strength to live and continually to try new things, even in conditions that seem as hopeless as ours do, here and now.

Everyone has a role to play in maintaining hope in the face of pandemic waves, political hatred and climate pain. Entrepreneurs more than most. The best entrepreneurs, young and old, derive power from hope to reshape the world.

This story and others on New Builders Dispatch are made possible by a sponsorship from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that provides access to opportunities that help people achieve financial stability, upward mobility, and economic prosperity – regardless of race, gender, or geography. The Kansas City, Mo.-based foundation uses its grantmaking, research, programs, and initiatives to support the start and growth of new businesses, a more prepared workforce, and stronger communities. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org and connect with www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.

A business journalist for 20 years, am the founder of Times of Entrepreneurship and the co-author of The New Builders.