Many people believe the results of this election will be disputed if the vote count is close. Both sides are worried the other won’t concede rapidly if the election is decided by the Supreme Court. Gore stepped aside rapidly in that case, and the United States skirted a longer, harder dispute. Will it do so again?

A few things are different this time. Against the backdrop of a higher geopolitical risk than I’ve seen in my lifetime, our society is much more militarized than it was 20 years ago. There are 400 million guns in American civilian hands. Our police and other law enforcement agencies are more armed than ever before. 

I hope this period of unrest in the United States finally puts to bed the absurd notion – I reported on it often when writing about investing in emerging markets — that it was only investments in the rest of the world that carried geopolitical risk. I hope it also convinces us to take a bipartisan approach to gun regulation. I do believe that’s possible, once you recognize the gun lobby speaks for arms dealers, not gun owners.

There’s a lot to worry about, but we also report every day on people who are steadily doing the work of the world and looking to a time beyond the present tension. Last week, we wrote about how small acts matter. This week, we have stories about a color-blind process that has helped produce some of the United States’ greatest organizations and leaders, from Teach for America to Michelle Obama, and about a billionaire couple who took the long view on curbing gun violence, and, building on the work of others, made progress.
My friends are saying this a lot, lately: Control what you can control, and keep going. 

I’d love to hear from you about the decisions you’re facing in your business now: Whether to hire, or conserve cash, whether to start a new initiative or focus on what you’re doing. Let me know at emacbride@timesofe.comor editoremacb on Twitter.
 — Elizabeth MacBride, Editor, Times of Entrepreneurship

To inquire about advertising in the Times of E, contact Adam Schaffer at

Times of Entrepreneurship Stories of the Week

How A Billionaire Couple Who Love Science Changed The Gun Debate

In a recent interview, Laura Arnold talked about the importance of listening to people with different beliefs from your own. 

Read the Story »

This Incubator Has Nurtured Some Of The World’s Most Important Startups

It was originally funded by the private equity giant General Atlantic. Teach for America and Michelle Obama are alumni.

Read the Story »

Work Lessons From The Pandemic

Can we even talk about a post-pandemic world? It still feels pretty far off.

Read the Story »

Important Stories from Elsewhere

Amid GOP Divisions, McConnell Sets Stage For Showdown Stimulus Vote With Democrats
A new version of his party’s plan is meant to deliver an election-year contrast with Democrats. The bill includes aid for small businesses. 

How Brooklyn Is Taking On Amazon 
Cinch Market operates as an Amazon-like centralized online marketplace for more than 20,000 products from small businesses, bodegas and grocery stores throughout Brooklyn. 

States Act to Limit COVID-Related Liability: Legislative Watch
Lawmakers have introduced dozens of shield bills that limit COVID-related liability for businesses, schools and caregivers, as the pandemic has sown divisiveness and rancor, creating a fertile ground for lawsuits.

Colonizing Mars Could Be Dangerous And Ridiculously Expensive. Elon Musk Wants To Do It Anyway. 
SpaceX’s plans raise many technological, political and ethical questions. 

How One VC Firm Wound Up With No-Code Startups As Part Of Its Investing Thesis
The gap between what business units need and what internal and external engineering teams can provide is widening. No-code and low-code startups offer a solution.

Oakland Black Business Fund Launches Investment Platform For Black-Owned Businesses
Elisse Douglass and Trevor Parham created the Oakland Black Business Fund to raise $10 million dollars for businesses affected by COVID-19 in the Bay Area, and $1 billion for Black entrepreneurs nationwide. 

Xfund Celebrates Launch Of New Fund
Xfund, a venture capital firm created at Harvard University, is focusing on supporting women, people of color, and other underfunded groups of entrepreneurs (including history, English and economics majors).

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Announces Collaboration With MIT To Research Digital Currency
The research project aims to understand the opportunities and limitations of possible technologies for a central bank digital currency. 

MIT Backs Pakistani Virtual Reality Startup Aiyin
Virtual Reality startup Aiyin, founded out of Islamabad, Pakistan, aims to bring science labs to students using virtual reality. 

German Aerospace Startup Joins the International Space Race
Isar Aerospace Technologies is starting the production of its ‘Spectrum’ Launcher, which once live will be able to deposit satellites into space. 

Bahamian Native Finds Entrepreneurial Success With Toronto’s Largest Black-Owned Hair And Beauty Supply Store
Zhorrah Grant dreamed about Hair Granted Beauty Supply Inc. her whole life. She was surprised by the impressive turnout at her store’s launch.

You Might Have Missed

A Revolution in Philanthropy: The Donors Need To Change, Not The Recipients
Kathryn Finney hopes the Doonie Fund helps people learn to act, not overthink. 
These Lenders Emerged As First Responders During The Pandemic. Now They May Need Help
But CDFIs, a key source of capital for small and minority-owned businesses, may need a lifeline themselves. 

Venture Capital Spotlight

Breakthrough Energy Ventures
Kirkland, Wa.
What It Is: Launched in December 2016, the $1 billion fund aims to support seed and early-stage companies that will lead the world to net-zero emissions. In May 2019, it announced Breakthrough Energy Ventures Europe, a $100 Euro fund that aims to build companies via public-private partnerships, and Breakthrough Energy Venture Canada, a $30 million investment to accelerate clean energy technologies in that country. 
Investment Minimum: Safe to say it was open only to the well-connected. $1 billion total is chump change to this group. 
Leadership: The fund was formed by Bill Gates and a group of the world’s richest, most powerful people, including Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd. in India, Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, and Patrice Motsepe, founder of African Rainbow Minerals.
Investment Track Record: The fund seeks early-stage investments in the DeepTech space that will help reduce carbon emissions, therefore tackling climate change. As with most big impact investing ventures, the problem is not the amount of money available: It’s finding the innovations to fund that can scale and be profitable enough to deliver their innovations to the market. Some ventures in Breakthrough’s portfolio include Biomilq, a North Carolina company that is attempting to reproduce mother’s breast milk in a lab; 1366 Technologies, with locations in Boston, Mumbai and Shanghai — it makes high-performance silicon wafers; and Lago-based, which Times of E wrote about months ago. It’s invested in 28 companies, according to Pitchbook, with a median round amount of $20 million.

Upcoming Events/Registration Deadlines

Boost with Facebook
Date: Started Sept. 1 and culminates on Nov. 24 at hybrid online-offline event with participants in Amsterdam, Cairo and Silicon Valley
Application available here.

Startups Without Borders, a global platform for refugee and migrant entrepreneurs, has partnered with Facebook to launch a digital marketing training program. It aims to support 1,550 entrepreneurs and business owners who are recovering from the pandemic. It is open to business owners from the MENA region who have left their country of origin in search of a better life and have started a business initiative in the U.S. or Europe.

WomenCorporateDirectors 2020 Global Institute
Dates: Sept. 9-11
Location: Virtual
Information available here.

“Leading Today and Transforming Tomorrow” will feature keynotes by Madeline K. Albright, 64thSecretary of State of the U.S.; Paul Knopp, chair and CEO of KPMG; David Solomon, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs; Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard and global economist Dr. Dambisa Moyo.

Urban Tech Connect/Forward 2020
Date: Sept. 15-17, 2020
Location: Virtual
Information is available here.

Urban Tech Connect is the third annual tech conference hosted by Plug In South LA. The three-day event will equip tech company founders from the African American and LatinX communities in Los Angeles and beyond with the knowledge and expertise to build competitive and successful tech enterprises and platforms. The conference also is focused on helping founders push forward in scaling and growing their businesses amidst the challenges caused by COVID-19.

SME Week Youth Essay Competition
Deadline: Sept. 18
Location: Virtual
Information available here.

Make your voice heard in an essay that addresses what SMEs need to become sustainable and resilient in the context of COVID-19 and other global challenges–and how EU policy can best aid entrepreneurs. The competition is open to 18-25-year-olds from EU and COSME countries.

Launch Clinic with Edtech Startups
September 21, 5-6:30 pm
Information available here.
At this virtual event, startups can get constructive feedback from a board-of-directors level panel of experts.

United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce National Conference
Date: September 27 to 29
Information available here

The 2020 conference, focused on Hispanic economic development, is among the largest gatherings of Hispanic business leaders in the U.S. This year’s conference will be held virtually for the first time.

Start Smart Class
Fall 2020 starts on September 28
Information available here.

This hands-on class, aimed at entrepreneurs who are serious about launching a startup, is focused on helping them build a solid understanding of their target market so they can grow a science/technology company successfully.

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.

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

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.

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.

Rolling deadlines

COVID-19 Coalition
Location: Virtual
Deadline: Rolling
Information available here.

Businesses that are contributing solutions to the coronavirus epidemic can apply for funding through this coalition.

Private Financing Advisory Network
Deadline: Rolling
Information available here.
The network is soliciting applications from businesses that deliver climate change adaptation or clean energy innovation to their communities.

The Nest: Connecting frontier market experts with global angel investors
Every Thursday, 1 pm ET
Information available here.

Entrepreneurs can pitch via a 30-60 second video sent via WhatsApp. Three entrepreneurs will be selected to participate in each week’s Zoom video conference of The Nest.

USAID Development Innovation Ventures
Location: Virtual
Deadline: Rolling, in any country where USAID operates
Information available here.

This program, which tests and scales creative solutions to global development challenges, offers funding for proof of concept (up to $200,000), testing and positioning to scale ($200,000 to $1.5 million) and scaling ($1.5 million to $5 million). Also available: evidence grants up to $1.5 million to support research and evaluations that generate “rigorous evidence of an innovation impact per dollar and potential for expansion.”

Compiled by Elaine Pofeldt

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 and connect with and

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