A black man with glasses and a sliightly graying beard

A note from our editor, Elizabeth MacBride:

I spent Super Bowl Sunday, as I often do, watching Jane Austen movies. I don’t like football, except sometimes, in the company of friends. In one memorable scene from Pride and Prejudice, the snobbish Miss Bingley attempts to put down Miss Bennett, casting her as a smart woman/no fun. “Miss Eliza Bennett despises cards. She is a great reader and has no pleasure in anything else.”

Miss Bennett retorts against the verbal aggression: “I deserve neither such praise not such censure. I am not a great reader, and I have pleasure in many things.”

It reminded me of the ways people try to pigeonhole MacKenzie Scott, one of the world’s wealthiest women by the dubious virtue of her role in building Amazon. We know she was involved with the company founded by her then-husband, Jeff Bezos. They met when she was working at a New York City-based hedge fund and she worked for the company. Women journalists including Kara Swisher have reported that she stayed involved in the business as Amazon and their family grew.

Yet, in stories over the years, Scott tends to get defined, neither as a businesswoman or as a full-fledged human, but primarily by a series of roles women get cast in. She’s been a stay-at-home mother, an artist/hobbiest, the wronged wife, and lately, the do-gooder superwoman– able to give away $5 billion in a single year! Women are more philanthropic than men and more apt to listen to advice, and Scott did break new ground in philanthropy — but was she really a heroine for giving away a minority of a rapidly growing fortune?

History suggests Scott is a lot like Bezos, a business talent with a ruthless streak who made mountains of money. Fundamentally she deserves neither the easy praise nor easy censure that comes from becoming a stereotype. She deserves what Bezos will get as a matter of course: credit and blame for the role in building Amazon, and the chance, which a lot of people don’t get, to write a powerful second chapter as philanthropists in the public eye.

Upcoming Times of E/Supernode event: Is Software Ruining Entrepreneurship?

To settle a debate that erupted in a ferocious Zoom call prompted by our mutual friend Brook Smith, Times of Entrepreneurship founder Elizabeth MacBride and Supernode Managing Director Laurel Touby have agreed to a public conversation, aka debate, around the question: Is Software Inherently Patriarchal/Ruining Entrepreneurship? We’ll address such questions as, are Silicon Valley software companies creating value at this point, or merely transferring wealth and value from their users to the mostly white male venture capitalists and the institutions and wealthy people who invest with them?

Why are we conforming ourselves painfully to these finance models that make billionaires richer? Round One: Clubhouse, 6:30 p.m. Eastern, Monday Feb. 11. Round Two: Video Interview, TBD. If you need an invitation to ClubHouse, send an email with your name, company and title to shirly@timesofe.com. We can’t guarantee an invitation, but will do our best. You will need an iPhone to access the discussion on ClubHouse and will need to download the app here: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/id1503133294

Times of Entrepreneurship Stories of the Week

As A $3B Boom Hits Louisville, Black Leaders Are Rising To Power

The city where Breonna Taylor was killed is doing soul searching about race relations and undergoing an economic transformation. 

Read the Story »

Diverse group of people in an office

News Briefs: How To Become A VC; Global PropTech Hub In The UAE; Houston, We Have A New Accelerator

More than 30 firms have committed to providing paid internships in a collaboration with HBCUvc, a nonprofit fellowship program that trains and mentors Black, Indigenous and Latinx students in venture capital. Meanwhile, Aldar Properties in Abu Dhabi has launched an accelerator, and Austin-based accelerator DivInc is expanding to Houston.  

Read the Story »

Black man in a baseball cap that says Super Chef

Hundreds Line Up To Regrow Economy In West Louisville

Celebrity chef Darnell Ferguson is among those opening businesses. A new construction accelerator is also on tap.

Read the Story »

A Muledragger Steps Up To Champion The Wilderness

The fate of the Bob Marshall in Montana will depend on a complex balancing act. More tourists, more fires, and fewer trails may be a dangerous combination.  

Read the Story »

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Maya, A Startup Focused On Accessible Healthcare In Asia, Raises a $2.2M Seed Round For Regional Expansion
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The Inclusive Innovation Economy: Ideas + Actions
Date: February 11, 2021
Location: Virtual
Information available here

At this event, hosted by the MIT Sloan School of Management, government and civic leaders will converse on how public policymakers can create long-term solutions that support inclusion in the innovation economy.

Technology Powering the Return To Work, Play, Spectate
Date: February 11, 2021
Location: Virtual
Information available here

This is the first of two sessions hosted by tech enterprises and startups at the Innovation Institute for Fan Experience to discuss new technologies to help those holding live events resume them safely. 

Startup 302
Deadline: February 12, 2021
Information available here

More than $200,000 grant-based and in-kind prizes are being awarded in this competition, targeting startups with at least one member of the founding team from underrepresented groups. The goal is to address the lack of funding that goes to startups led by women and minorities.

2021 Global Business Hackathon
Deadline to register: February 14, 2021
Location: Virtual and in-person
Information available here

Students can compete for cash prizes and in-kind awards in this competition to solve business challenges, run by TiE University, a program aimed at fostering entrepreneurship among college and university students.

Ignite Startup Workshop: Design Thinking for Entrepreneurs
Date: February 16, 2020
Information available here.

The Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas at Austin and special guest Raj Raghunathan, professor of marketing at the McCombs School of Business, are offering this free workshop on design thinking for entrepreneurs.

Grants for Startups: The Definitive Freelance and Startup Guide
Date: February 18, 2021
Location: Virtual
Information available here

Learn about grant funding for entrepreneurs, and how you can manage a freelance grants business from OpenGrants CEO Sedale Turbovsky. The event organizer is the Carlsen Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Sacramento State.

7th Annual Booth-Kellogg Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition Conference
Date: Feb. 16-19, 2021
Location: Virtual
Information available here

The Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition Group at Chicago Booth, the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Kellogg Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative are hosting this annual event bringing together entrepreneurs, investors, MBA students, faculty and others to network and share insights.

Values and Ventures Competition
Deadline: February 22, 2021
Information available here.

Texas Christian University’s Values and Ventures Competition, which takes place from April 16-17, invites undergraduates from around the world to pitch ideas for conscious capitalism ventures that make a profit while solving a problem. The grand prize is $100,000.

The New Journey of Black Entrepreneurship
February 23, 1-2 pm EST
Location: Virtual
Information available here

Alvin Singh, a successful online entrepreneur from Northwest Arkansas, is a program associate with the Startup Junkie Foundation, Kiva NWA Hub, which provides access to 0% microloans for disadvantaged borrowers from Northwest Arkansas.

8 Week Entrepreneur Training Program
Date: Next cohort starts February 23, 2021
Location: Virtual
Information available here

This curriculum is designed to empower aspiring entrepreneurs with the tools and skills to successfully navigate the path to small business ownership. The program is provided by Operation Hope and Shopify.

Diversity & Inclusion in Entrepreneurship
Date: February 24, 2021
Location: Virtual
Information available here

This summit will provide students at University of Texas at Austin and the larger community with insight on ways that entrepreneurs from underserved communities can successfully launch entrepreneurial ventures. The event is powered by the Texas McCombs Herb Kelleher Entrepreneurship Center and Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute.

Baylor New Venture Competition
Date: March 25-27, 2021; Applications open September 1, 2020
Location: Baylor University; Waco, Texas
Information available here.

Baylor New Venture Competition offers applicants business plan feedback, mentorship, and a chance to compete for more than $250,000 in prizes. Collegiate entrepreneurs from around the globe are eligible to participate in the competition, hosted by Baylor University.

Sustainability Mena
Deadline: Applications close March 30, 2021
Location: Virtual
Information available here

Village Capital, with the support of the International Finance Corp., is launching an investment readiness program for Middle East, North Africa and Turkey-based startups tackling the region’s sustainability challenges. 

US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency Cares Act Grant Technical Assistance Program
End date: May 31, 2021
Information available here.

This program, facilitated through eight COVID-19 Technical Assistance Centers in major cities with large Hispanic and minority populations, will provide ongoing readiness and support to help the minority business community navigate the pandemic.

Small Business Expo
Dates: Year-round
Location: Live and virtual
Information available here

This series of 45 major trade shows has published its schedule for 2021. These B2B events—free to attend–include networking and workshops.


MassCEC’s InnovateMass Program
Deadline: Rolling
Information available here.

This program offers up to $250,000 in grant funding and technical support to applicant teams deploying new clean energy technologies or innovative combinations of existing technologies with a strong potential for commercialization. Applicants must run Massachusetts-based companies or have a location in the state and have a technology that fits specific guidelines.

Chandler Innovations
Deadline: Rolling
Location: Chandler, Arizona
Information available here.

Entrepreneurs who live or work in Chandler, Arizona, are eligible to apply for this business incubator. Business ideas must be tech-based.

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.