A note from our editor, Elizabeth MacBride:

“We see our clients projecting a financial cliff,” I heard today from Aurora, Ill.

I was lucky to observe a roundtable discussion with eight founders and Congressmen French Hill (R-AR), Bill Foster (D-IL) and David Schweikert (R-AZ). The entrepreneurs were all in the b-to-b space; some serve Main Street or grassroots entrepreneurs. The roundtable was put on the Center for American Entrepreneurship. The Congressmen, who floated ideas for more R&D funding and government-backed venture investments, hoped for a rosier view than was presented by the entrepreneurs – which is troubling, given that entrepreneurs are typically overly optimistic.

My takeaways:

• The risk faced by Main Street entrepreneurs is high. “We see our clients projecting a financial cliff,” said Jimi Allen, founder of Aurora-Ill.-based marketing agency Bureau Gravity. As goes small business, goes the economy. Outside health care and government, our main private industry employers now are companies in retail, leisure and professional services: 62 million jobs out of 169 million. 

• One of the entrepreneurs, Danny Ellis, co-founder of Ann Arbor, Mich-based SkySpecs, noted how much less worried his employees in Denmark were. There, he said, everyone has state-run health care, retirement and daycare systems.

• The federal aid programs sustained many businesses through the spring and summer. Now, all bets are off, as even some venture-backed companies lose momentum. Whatever Congress does, ought to be done rapidly, said Rita Hansen, the co-founder of Onboard Dynamics in Bend, Ore.

• The panel reflected funding realities across the country. Women and people of color, who make up the majority of today’s new entrepreneurs, were not able to access the aid programs or capital from sources such as the private equity markets, which are more open to white men.

I was touched by the obvious capability of the entrepreneurs on the call. They cared for each other, and the different perspectives each was bringing to the table.
It was a stark contrast to what’s happening in Washington, D.C., where the federal stimulus and a Supreme Court nomination seem to have become a set of personal political joysticks in the hands of a mentally unstable, ill president. The uniform wish I heard from everyone on the call: Let’s get back to the business of building.

Please send me your ideas for my interview series of 25 women founders around the globe in DeepTech at emacbride@timesofe.com. I’ll be gathering names for a few weeks.

— Elizabeth MacBride, founder of Times of Entrepreneurship

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Important Stories from Elsewhere

Trump Crashes Markets By Tweeting There Will Be No Stimulus Until After the Election, Then Reverses
He wants aid to small business, airlines and $1,200 stimulus checks. Earlier, doctors voiced fear his COVID medication causes mania, aggression and psychosis.

Trump Moves To Tighten Visa Access For Highly-Skilled Foreign Workers
Four weeks before the election, the Trump administration has announced stricter rules for the H1-B visa program, which U.S. companies have long valued.

Congress just finished its Big Tech anti-trust report. Now it’s time to rewrite the laws.
The investigation has shown a bipartisan appetite for reform, though several obstacles lie ahead.

Facebook Bans QAnon Across Its Platforms
The change is a significant escalation over its previous actions targeting the group and one of the broadest rules the social media giant has put in place in history.

Why Startups Are Going Public Now
If you really need to go public, tomorrow may be worse than today.

Salesforce Ventures Launches $100M Impact Fund To Invest In Cloud Startups With Social Mission
The company’s second impact fund is twice the size of its first and is focused on areas such as education and reskilling.

Inside the Hardest B-School Program In The World To Get Into
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As Millions Of Americans Face Wildfires And Hurricanes, This Kentucky Startup Helps Them Rebuild Faster
Louisville-based insurance tech startup WeatherCheck helps people prepare for natural disasters before they happen.

Southeast Asia’s Classifieds Startup Carousell Is On Its Way To Becoming One Of Southeast Asia’s Next Unicorns
The company is focused on becoming profitable in the next three to four years, according to its CEO and co-founder.

Months’ Old Uni Raises $18.5 Million Seed Round To Expand India’s Credit Card Market
The startup plans to tackle issues, like lack of access to credit, that have slowed the growth of credit cards in the country.

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Interesting Events and Competitions 

Business Strategy and Financials In Uncertain Times
Date: October 7, 4-5 pm ET
Information available here.

Learn how to assess the financial health of your business, the best ways to evaluate the impact of an uncertain environment, how to analyze different funding options and more in this webinar from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses.

The Year of Dangerous Days: Riots, Refugees and Cocaine in Miami in 1980
Date: October 7, 5-6:15 pm
Information available here.

At this book launch, journalist and author Nick Griffin will be interviewed by Alberto Ibarguen, president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and former publisher of The Miami Herald, about how the city of Miami survived a spate of turmoil in 1980, already a turbulent election year.

Invest South Jersey
Date: October 8, 11:30 am to 1 pm
Information available here.

Capital Analytics will share in-depth research into New Jersey’s South Jersey market in this event, which will also feature discussions of innovation in education and best practices to promote sustainable business growth.

Follow the Entrepreneur (FTE) Investment Campaign and Summit
Dates: Oct. 10-14
Location: Athens, Greece (event will also be live streamed)
Information available here.

VIVA Investment Partners, a Swiss private equity firm, is hosting this gathering, where entrepreneurs will come together with leading global investors to build relationships and identify opportunities to collaborate. 

Imagine H2O’s Water Innovation Week
Date: October 12-14
Location: Virtual
Information available here

Industry leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, customers and advisors will meet to discuss the opportunities that exist in the water sector this year. 

Hong Kong Science And Technology Parks Corporation’s Elevator Pitch Competition 2020
Deadline for applications: October 19, 2020
Location: Virtual
Information available here.

Tech entrepreneurs around the world can compete in this virtual elevator pitch competition, which last year received 650 entrees. Ideas should be in four areas: artificial intelligence and robotics, fintech, health technology and smart cities.

SOCAP Virtual: A Global Impact Summit 
Location: Virtual
Dates: October 19-23
Information available here.

The Future of Work, Accelerated
Date: October 22, Noon-1 pm ET
Location: Virtual
Information available here.

At this event hosted by Columbia Business School, Kay Fernandez, SVP of marketing for Konica  Minolta; Stephen Gorman, professor of business at Columbia Business School and Michael Quiroga, CEO of Visible, will discuss how to build effective relationships between companies, employees and society at large during COVID-19.

This gathering of global change-makers aims to address the world’s toughest challenges through market-based solutions. 

Young Entrepreneur Convention
Location: Ames, Ohio
Deadline: October 24, 2020
Information available here.

The theme is “founders helping founders” at this one-day event, aimed at business owners in their teens and twenties, at Iowa State University.

Greentown Labs Climatech Summit
Date: Nov. 5-6
Location: Virtual
Information available here

Entrepreneurs, investors, business leaders, policymakers, startup support organizations and other climate champions will come together to chart a holistic course to building a sustainable future for all.

Nevada Virtual Pitch Competition
Date: Nov. 6, 9 am to 3 pm
Location: Virtual
For more information, write to: NVRuralpitch2020@gmail.com.

Created to stimulate entrepreneurship in rural Nevada, this virtual pitch competition, which will award cash prizes up to $1,000, will include educational resources and learning sessions.

Sight Tech Global
This virtual conference is dedicated to fostering discussion among technology pioneers about how rapid advances in AI and related technologies will create a more accessible world for people with blindness and visual impairments. 
Date: Dec. 2-3, 2020. Registration is free and opening soon. 
Information available here

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. 


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.

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.