Times of Entrepreneurship Stories

Tech Investment Is Helping Buffalo Come Back, But Immigrants Are The Real Secret.

Tech Investment Is Helping Buffalo Come Back, But Immigrants Are The Real Secret
There’s a little-noticed, still fragile economic comeback in Buffalo, which has gone from being the butt of jokes to having a quiet buzz in entrepreneurship circles. The question of what happens to places like Buffalo now seems of pressing national importance, a test of whether capitalism and democracy can deliver equitable and free lives for most of its people. Read more here.

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VC Spotlight: Forgepoint Capital Rides A Cybersecurity Wave

The war in Ukraine is propelling even more growth in the cybersecurity market. Attacks — probably originated by the Russian government — continue on the infrastructure of Ukraine, European countries aiding the Ukrainians, and the United States. Forgepoint Capital is one of the largest VCs operating in the cybersecurity spaced, it was founded by a serial entrepreneur who is also Peruvian immigrant to the United States. Read the spotlight here.

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25 Million Sparks: Refugee Entrepreneurs Are The Untold Stories

I was stunned to open 25 Million Sparks and was stunned that one of the refugee entrepreneurs I wrote about almost a decade ago for CNBC was still in the Za’atri refugee camp in Jordan. Asma is one of three heroes of Andrew Leon Hanna’s book, which I reviewed for the Washington Independent. Read the review here:

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Gordon Caplan’s Comeback: Is Redemption Still Possible In America?

My story in Forbes looks at the question of what it takes to create a second act in America after an awful mistake – like getting caught in the Varsity Blues scandal.
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What I’m reading

Re-authorization of the SBIR program has been held up, creating uncertainty for science-based small businesses. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul held up the passage of the re-authorization (an honestly – shouldn’t SBA and DOD administrators have had a better handle on getting this popular program through?). A libertarian, he hates government programs in general; the divided Congress gives any one Senator a lot of power. The delay, in turn, has created a window in which some people are pushing for the idea that science that can be commercialized should get more funding. This is probably a bad idea; the $3 billion SBIR program was generating genuine innovations by balancing oversight with hands-off support for science – that’s tricky. One thing is for sure: Creating this uncertainty for innovators is foolish. Other countries frequently try to lure top entrepreneurs to relocate. Read more here.
The White House released principles for Big Tech reform. I was happy to see two of particular interest for small businesses, those that compete with Big Tech and use their platforms: transparency and ending discriminatory algorithmic decision-making. The six principles. promoting technology sector competition; adopting robust federal privacy protections, and tougher privacy and online protections for children; rescinding special legal protections for large tech platforms; increasing transparency about platforms’ algorithms and content moderation decisions; and ending discriminatory algorithmic decision-making. More from Reuters here,
Part of the push to reign in the power of Big Tech is the idea of bringing journalism back. Journalism has lost half its workforce in recent years as thousands of newspapers have gone out of business. That’s a big reason disinformation has a chokehold on American democracy. Here’s Matt Stolleron a reform that worked in Australia: allowing newspapers to bargain collectively with Big Tech. The upshot is that Australian newspapers can’t hire fast enough.
From my fellowship at the American Economic Liberties Project, here is the story of inventor/entrepreneur Jasmine Johnson, who spoke up against Amazon at hearings this spring in Washington, D.C. Small business owners brave enough to take on the giants have been targeted for retaliation in the past. Read Why This Inventor Spoke Up Against Amazon.
TCGplayer, a Syracuse-based startup with an online marketplace for non-sports trading cards, will be acquired by eBay for $295 million. These former centers of industry are coming back. Tech is part of the picture. Read more here.

Living the dream

Buzzworthy: “Over 80 labor organizations from across the world want Meta to cease attempts to silence South African whistleblower Daniel Motaung, who was fired for leading unionization efforts seeking better pay and mental health support for workers,” says a Quartz story about the controversy.
Best Practices: It’s a good time to consider how much you pay for investment advice
Bear markets are scary. But the main point of investing for almost all Americans is retirement. This is a long-time game. If you’re tempted to sell: Stop, do nothing. This is a good time to take a close look at the fees you’re paying for investment advice. Consider this: Why are you paying a fee on your assets for advice, when what you should really be paying for is what’s delivered – returns. You really ought to be paying a fee that’s a percentage of your return. That’s not usually how the investment business works. But if your stock portfolio has dropped further than the market overall, maybe you’re not getting your money’s worth. This lesson and others in Figuring It Out by Charles D. Ellis, a revolutionary thinker in investing.


A Life-Work Hack: Consolidate your calendar and your to-do list. I’ve gone back to a paper calendar. The process of consolidating appointments and deadlines weekly from my various devices helps me get a clearer picture of what I need to do, when. The calendar book I use Quo Vadis, organizes by week, and includes a full page for a to-do list each week.
One Fun Place To Go: No Goodbyes in Washington, D.C., champions small ranchers, fisheries, and farmers from the Chesapeake Bay region. A selection from the dinner menu: Oysters (of course), crab rice and ember roasted trout with green garlic butter and caviar. Other locations (similarly local) in Austin, SF and LA.
Made in America: Top Seedz, makes gluten-free, healthy crackers using a workforce of refugees. A box retails for $7.99. The company won the Buffalo-based accelerator 43N’s million-dollar entrepreneurship prize in 2021. Buy them here.

Upcoming Opportunities ⭐

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Link: https://bit.ly/TimesofEOpportunities

1. A Course To Reach the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs
In this free course developed by entrepreneurship professor John Lynn, professors and other entrepreneurship educators get a curriculum and supporting materials based on the influential book, The New Builders.
Date: N/A
Location: N/A
Link: https://bit.ly/3dE6rZh
2. Nestle Youth Acclerator
Nestle launched its platform for youth entrepreneurs, including an R&D accelerator. An open challenge for science-based startups is currently accepting applicants and will be for the news four months or so. The platform is here. Info about the acclerator at the link below.
Deadline to apply: December
3.Pipeline Fellowship
Applications are open for the Midwest’s prestigious Pipeline Fellowship, a year-long program that often leads to funding for entrepreneurs (and focuses on under-served founders).
Deadline to apply: Nov. 16
Location: kansas City
4. South Florida Space Day
The Alan B. Levan | NSU Broward Center of Innovation will focus on trends, challenges, opportunities, and strategies of entrepreneurship within the space sector and will also include panels, seminars, an entrepreneur showcase, a business expo, networking opportunities and an entrepreneur pitch event. The event is free and open to the public.
Date: Oct. 12
Location: Tallahassee, Fla.


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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.