A note from our editor, Elizabeth MacBride:

Watching Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings, I’m thinking about how being a conservative and a Catholic woman gives you good training in keeping up appearances.

My father is a career military man from an Irish Catholic family. My mother was a deeply sacrificing Christian Scientist. I learned early that men can slip up sometimes, and indeed are liked better for doing so. Women can never slip up, never slip out of whichever character the world is requiring of them at that moment, indeed get punished for pointing out the inconsistencies and injustices in a world stacked against them.

Recently, in a meeting with attorneys for Times of Entrepreneurship, I slipped up. I laughingly referred to the odds stacked against me as a women founder (i.e., less than 2% of venture capital goes to women-led companies in the United States). It was as if I’d flashed my breasts in the middle of a board meeting. The conversation ground to a halt. A male friend said later, “You scared them.”

I know a lot of women watching Amy Coney Barrett, who think that she won’t end up being that much of an originalist as a Justice, because she’s a woman. Actually, I agree.

For starters, of course, women couldn’t vote or be judges when the Constitution was written. I can’t even begin to parse the weird rationalizations around the issue of equality for an originalist. But real change comes more from the heart, anyway. I’ve known a lot of women who started out conservative. I don’t know a single one who didn’t become more liberal, or at least in a subversive way, as she aged.

I think it happens when you realize how many of the conservative men you were taught to revere aren’t even brave enough to acknowledge the reality of women’s lives. When that realization happens for Amy Comey Barrett (maybe it already has), perhaps she’ll give up the flimsy clarities of the past for the complicated truths of the present reality. That’s what happened for many of the rest of us, anyway.

— Elizabeth MacBride, founder of Times of Entrepreneurship

Times of Entrepreneurship Stories of the Week

Chasing the Sun

A solar entrepreneur hits headwinds in the U.S.’s politically-driven innovation landscape.

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Portrait of Amanda

A Former Teacher Reaches 100,000 Students A Week With AP Classes

Her Milwaukee-based company, Fiveable, is a social network and learning platform. It’s just raised $2.3 million from investors including Chelsea Clinton.

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Opinion: A Crisis Is A Terrible Thing To Waste

Nine ideas for how governments worldwide can help entrepreneurs recover from the COVID-19 calamity.

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Important Stories from Elsewhere

McConnell Plans Coronavirus Aid Vote As Pelosi Says White House stimulus plan falls short
The Kentucky Republican says the Senate will take up aid legislation after the full chamber returns on Monday.

Men Have Been Promoted Three Times More Than Women During the Pandemic, Study Finds
Working mothers, who traditionally shoulder more of the household work than their mates, have been hit hard by the pandemic and virtual schooling. One quarter are now considering downshifting their career or leaving the workforce altogether. Will this be the spark for “a new suffrage movement?”

Biden Son-In-Law Advises Campaign On Pandemic Response While Investing In COVID Startups
Howard Krein’s VC firm Startup Health announced in April it would invest in 10 medical startups that offer solutions to pandemic-related challenges—at the same time he was speaking with the Biden campaign about its health policy.

Here’s How A Justice Amy Coney Barrett Could Affect Entrepreneurs
Barrett is poised to become the most pro-corporate justice on a Supreme Court that is already friendly to big business. But how will that affect owners, freelancers and entrepreneurs?

To Grow A More Diverse Startup Ecosystem, Start At The Seed Stage
Crunchbase’s first Diversity Spotlight Report underlines the stark funding gap for Black and Latino entrepreneurs, who receive just 2.6% of total VC funding for startups. Some regions do better than average: In Atlanta, these founders get 5.5% of the total pie.

How Small Retailers Are Doing Amazon Prime Day Amid The COVID-19 Pandemic
The event, which began Tuesday, runs through October 14. Merchants who’ve been battered by shop closures and limited capacity are turning to the marketplace to bring in more sales.

Support For Entrepreneurship In Detroit Hits A Turning Point
More than 3,000 companies have been launched with help from the New Economy Initiative.

Killing Strategy: The Disruption Of Management Consulting
The industry is inefficient, inflexible and slow to adapt. Expect a major fight ahead as tech innovators go after a piece of the action.

Bank Of England Asks Banks About Readiness For Negative Interest Rates
And it’s not the first. Other central banks have pushed rates into negative territory to spur more lending.

Over 70,000 Kansas Homes Finally Getting High-Speed Internet
An additional $85 million will improve statewide internet over the next decade. Although Kansas City has ultra-speedy Google Fiber, large swaths of the state have been without broadband.

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Venture Capital Spotlight

Name: Plus Venture Capital
Location: Abu Dhabi
Size: $60 million

What It Is: Founded by former Google executive Sharif El-Badawi and Hasan Haider, a self-described “reformed investment banker,” Plus Venture Capital will invest in tech and tech-enabled companies in the Middle East and North Africa and worldwide, in companies led by people in the MENA diaspora. For the past five years, the duo have been running 500 Falcons, the Middle East fund in the 500 Startups global family of funds. 500 Falcons, a $33 million fund, made 180 investments in three years and has an IRR of 15-20%. The team wanted to consider a bigger fund that could make larger seed fund investments and see investee companies through their Series A rounds. At the same time, the 500 Startups parent, Badawi said, wanted to make more of those larger early stage investments from the San Francisco office. That led to a split. El-Badawai and Haider will continue to manage the 500 Falcons fund on a part-time basis.

Minimum Investment: $1 million; the team has commitments for about one-third of the $60 million.

Investment Style/What Makes The Fund Different: An Egyptian-American, El-Badawai has deep connections in Silicon Valley, having been a serial tech entrepreneur. He was a director at Google, part of a team responsible for $16 billion in ad sales before being named to an entrepreneur mentorship role within Google, which eventually led to his involvement in the burgeoning venture capital scene in the Middle East and North Africa. Haider set up the first angel investment network in Bahrain, according to his online biography. The team–the firm is hiring–plans to make $250,000 seed round investments and A rounds up to $2 million. Part of their focus is the evolution of a professional venture capital industry within MENA. “Seed stage companies in MENA are piecemealing their funding. It’s not doing them any favors,” El-Badawi said. “Not all the companies were progressing fast enough to reach meaningful milestones for Series A.”

Quote: “This is a movement and a mission,” says El-Badawai. “Tech and venture capital have created whole economies.” 


Plantiers World Gathering
Date: October 16-21, 2020
Location: Lisbon, Spain or virtual
Information available here.

This giant sustainability conference is focused on educating the next generation on the importance of sustainability through live talks and workshops. Startups will have the opportunity spend two days networking with investors.   

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.

Startup Lehigh Valley Pitch Competition
Date: November 18 (Deadline to apply: October 28, 2020)
Location: Virtual
Information available here.

Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania entrepreneurs are invited to compete in this virtual competition. Only 10 spots are available. Prizes total $10,000.

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

MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition
Deadline for applications: December 15, 2020
Location: Virtual
Information available here

This annual competition, founded in 2006, is designed to empower entrepreneurs and foster the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Arab Region. The winners receive equity-free prize money.

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.