A note from our editor, Elizabeth MacBride:

Five or six years ago, I wrote a story for the Atlantic about my great-grandfather’s suicide during the Great Depression and its effect it had on my family over the years. The stigma of a suicide lasts for generations: the clearest evidence for me being the way we say “committed,” as if mental illness were a crime.

Later, when I was writing about gun violence, I saw the stigma as one reason we can’t get meaningful gun law reform. Two-thirds of gun deaths are suicides. To reduce that number, we’d have to grapple with a fearful reality that affects people across the political divides. But the stigma of suicide is old and deep; it’s as if we have a blind spot that keeps us from feeling the fear.

When it comes to blind spots, we have a big and devastating one about the value of women’s work. Because we don’t have a well-developed social safety net for parents during the early years of child rearing, our path to economic recovery will be much more fraught. We know nearly 2.2 million fewer women in the labor force in October than there were in February, before the pandemic, according to the National Women’s Law Center. We also know that after the last recession, women-owned businesses, especially those owned by women of color, were the biggest source of new jobs.

It’s always been curious to me why the United States is so awful when it comes to investing in the early years of people’s lives, when the investments so clearly pay off. Why no guaranteed maternity and paternity leave, why no universal preschool, why so few jobs guarantees, why such an inhumane work-life culture? Of course the pandemic was bound to cause painful disruptions, but our lack of infrastructure made it infinitely worse. During the pandemic, given the impossible burden of childcare and full-time at-home work, Atalanta shrugged. That will be everyone’s loss.

I remain curious about our societal blind spot around the lack of early-childhood infrastructure, which is worse in the United States than other countries. In writing about suicide and guns, it became clear to me what the fear was. But when it comes to women working, what are we so afraid of?

I’ve been saving up reader’s notes for the past few weeks – I get some really lovely ones! I’d be happy to print some responses to my question about women’s (or parents’) work. Meanwhile, here’s a reader-generated story: Melissa Vincent, executive director of the Midwestern accelerator Pipeline, introduced me to Maria Flynn. She and a co-founder, Bo Fishback, spoke frankly about the moment she almost didn’t become CEO.

Times of Entrepreneurship Stories of the Week

The Making Of A CEO

How a woman engineer grabbed the baton at a Kansas drug company.

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Israeli 3D Printer Software Maker Finds Early Traction Among Fortune 500

The takeaway: Startups can make revenue in the beta phase. 

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Four Ways Social Entrepreneurship Can Advance Women’s Economic Empowerment

One fast-growing company from India, Kinara, offers a model for funding small and mid-sized manufacturers.

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Important Stories from Elsewhere

Bipartisan group of senators announces $908 billion stimulus plan, aiming to break logjam
Package comes amid signs the economy is weakening but does not have buy-in from White House, Congressional leaders.

Inside Singapore’s Bet On Vertical Farming
Tech is reshaping agriculture markets worldwide.

Salesforce Buys Slack In $27.7 Billion Megadeal
Salesforce founder Mark Benioff: “This is a match made in heaven.”

Last Startups Going Public In 2020
Airbnb, Affirm, Wish, and Roblox have filed in recent weeks, with the markets hitting all-time highs.

Cleantech Deals Set For Big Shifts Under Biden, Investors Say
The President-Elect’s chief impact could be via carrot-and-stick measures that reward low-carbon solutions and punish emitters with fees.

Women Leaving The Workforce In Record Numbers
An investment in childcare could keep women employed and buoy the entire economy. Hmmm. So why isn’t that happening?

Everything You Need to Know to Start and Grow Your Company in the Midwest
States in the Heartland have been courting entrepreneurs the past few years. Those efforts are starting to bear fruit, but there’s still room for the region to grow.

Midwest Economic Confidence Plummets
Creighton University’s Mid-America Business Conditions Survey shows a sharp uptick in COVID-19 infections taking their toll.

New Startup Helps Musicians Stay Afloat During COVID
Chattanooga-based Songlorius helps musicians make money by writing and performing customized songs.

Canada’s Digital Tax
The federal government will tax all digital products and services including Netflix and Airbnb.

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NOVID Helps Users Understand COVID’s Nearby Spread
With 80,000 downloads and philanthropic funding, NOVID shows the value of Martin Minsky’s dictum: Understand a problem in more than one way.

What The Biden Administration Must Do For Entrepreneurs and The Economy
Nine leaders say restoring entrepreneurship starts with immediate fixes to get capital flowing to small businesses and continues with leadership on innovation, infrastructure and tax policy.

Startup Spotlight: HabitAware Helps With Often-Ignored Mental Illnesses
This SBIR-supported startup from the University of Minnesota uses detection and mental vibration to help people stop repetitive behaviors, like hair pulling.


MaRS Impact Week
Dates: Nov. 30-Dec. 4
Location: Virtual
Information here
This Canadian conference brings together entrepreneurs, investors, corporates, scientists and more – MaRs brings together all members of the innovation community in five days of immersive online events, conversations, breakouts and more. 

AWS: Re: Invent
Dates: Nov. 30-December 18
Location: Virtual
Information here.
This cloud-learning event will feature sessions focused on how organizations are using the cloud to serve students.

Sight Tech Global
Date: Dec. 2-3, 2020. Registration is free and opening soon. 
Information available here

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. 

Techfest NW
Dates: Dec. 2-4
Location: Virtual
Information available here.
Stephanie Lampkin, founder and CEO of Blendoor, and Nitin Rai, managing parner of Elevate Capital, will discuss the $4 trillion funding gap and expanding opportunities for black and brown entrepreneurs.

Launching the Startup
Date: December 3, 2:30 p.m.
Location: Virtual
Information available here.
Starlyn Priest, senior business consultant at Kestada Strategy Consultants and entrepreneur-in-residence at the Veale Institute for Entrepreneurship at Case Western Reserve University, will discuss the nuts and bolts of company formation, helping aspiring entrepreneurs master the steps to set up a business entity.

Innovation And Entrepreneurship In Developing Economies
Date: Dec. 8
Location: Virtual
MIT Enterprise Forum sponsors this panel, which includes Dina Sherif, MIT Legatum Center director, Cooper Union Dean of Engineering Ret. Gen. Barry Shoop, Elizabeth MacBride and U.S. Ambassador to Bosnis and Herzegovina Eric Nelson.
Register here.

LinkUp Conference Show
Date: Dec. 8, 2020
Location: Virtual
Information available here.

This digital networking conference is focused on providing opportunities for leaders in fintech and telecom. Speakers include venture capitalist Tim Draper and Dr. Roshwanna Ellis, founder and CEO of EnrichHER.

She Leads 2020 Online Conference For Women Leaders & Women Entrepreneurs
Date: December 8, 10 am to 2 pm EST
Location: Virtual
Information available here.

This event is aimed at women entrepreneurs and leaders who want to take their leadership and businesses to new levels of success. Speakers include J.J. Ramberg, founder of Goodpods and former host of MSNBC’s Your Business and Tanya Klitch, lifestyle and ecommerce reporter for Forbes.

Unlocking Resources: Expanding Access to Capital
Dates: Dec. 8, 12:30 to 1:30 pm
Information available here.
This event, open to all members of the MIT community is part of a series focused on accelerating inclusion in the innovation economy. Speakers include Professors Malia C. Lazu, Fiona E. Murray and Ray Reagans.

[Re]Verse Pitch Competition
Deadline: December 9, 2020
Location: Austin, Texas
Information available here.

This program, which aims to reduce waste in Austin, Texas, invites businesses with waste byproducts and surplus materials to supply materials to competing innovators and entrepreneurs, who will use the excess materials to create a new product or business venture.

Into the Wild: Leveraging Nature’s Own Designs To Rapidly Innovate for the Future
Date: December 10, 2020
Location: Virtual
Information available here.
The MIT Enterprise Forum talks with experts on biomimicry—a practice that learns from and mimics the strategies of natural species—who are using it to solve problems and overcome design challenges.

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.

Annual Ballard Award Competition
Deadline: Applications will be available starting in January 2021; other details forthcoming.
Location: Details forthcoming
Information available here.
Emerging companies in the East Tennessee area can compete for a $50,000 investment of capital and in-kind services to support their innovative ideas in this contest, sponsored by the accounting firm PYA. Applicants must submit a business plan.

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.

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.