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Ashley Williams

A note from our editor, Elizabeth MacBride

When the pandemic hit two years ago, I was staying at my friend Dina’s apartment in Boston. I switched my plane ticket to go home early and laid on the couch that night, sleepless. I’d just launched Times of E, with about four to five months worth of funding. If the world economy shuddered deeply, how would I feed my kids? I decided to write every story myself for a few months to conserve my capital. I did that, and the company survived.

I believe fundamentally that people who start companies should be able to earn a reward for the risk they take. I also believe the government has a right to tax people for the services and support it provides. Thank God for vaccines.

Those fundamental ideas aren’t necessarily at odds, but in our divided society, they are coming to be. Right now, Congress is considering a measure that would reduce the current exclusion on capital gains tax available to all employees, founders and investors. The new measure would exclude those earning more than $400,000 per year.

I think it’s interesting that for purposes of this part of the tax code, investors, and entrepreneurs are treated the same way. I see this often. In a two-sided conversation — government v. capital — the nuances get lost.

In our current divided political conversation, entrepreneurs and investors are being lumped in together, as “capitalists” or “private owners.” Indeed, Silicon Valley and tech entrepreneurship arguably grew up because a new form of finance, venture capital, shared some of the risk of company-building with founders – and the government provided the financing for the whole industry.

Much has changed since the middle of the 20th century. The financial services sector has exploded in size – some estimates have it as high as a quarter of the world economy. We have rich incentives already built into the tax code for investors (consider the capital gains tax in general).

Meanwhile, more than 80% of entrepreneurs receive no outside funding at all, and the banking sector has consolidated so much that it’s increasingly expensive and difficult for entrepreneurs to access basic financial services even after they have thriving companies.

As we’re thinking about how to fix the financing system for entrepreneurs, it’s worthwhile to separate the roles financiers, investors and entrepreneurs play in the system. We need more investors, but we need more entrepreneurs most of all.


We’re in an anti-capitalist moment – that’s one of the themes we’re exploring at our first event, Challenges Met, Opportunities Ahead, for university entrepreneurship professors, professionals and students. More info here:

Times of Entrepreneurship
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You may have missed

Changemakers: How an LA Migrant Returned to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and Built a $1M AI Company. Sho Rust has more time, more house and more money…and offices in New York and Paris.  Read it here.

Problem Solved: So, You’re an Early-Stage Climate-Tech Innovator and Your Funding Is Running Out. VertueLab, backed by the Lemelson Foundation, is one place to turn. Read it here.

Trinidad, Colorado, Formerly a Sex-Change Capital, Lately Dubbed a Weed Town, is Trying to Broaden its Identity. Meet the border town’s small business community, who are working on reinventing its image toward a cultural community and outdoor recreation. Read it here.

Q&A: Miami Is Mostly Talk When It Comes To Diversity, Says One Black Leader Low taxes and a high rate of entrepreneurship drew Silicon Valley giants, including Microsoft, to Miami. But the tech boom may be leaving out the wider community. Read it here.

Living the dream

Best Practices: Business owners are notorious for working long hours. But getting to work right away can put you in a “mental scramble,” Atlanta-based Alzay Calhoun, an advisor to small-business owners, told Nerdwallet’s Katherine Fan. Instead, spend time in the morning meditating and setting intentional goals for you and your team, he said.

Buzzworthy: In their book The Human Element, Loran Nordgren and David Schonthal, both professors at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business, dive into the frictions that oppose change and how entrepreneurs can overcome these human patterns to get investors and others on board with their ideas.


The 4.5 hour workweek: A productivity hack

When developing the Pfizer vaccine, Albert Bourla drilled in purpose — the CEO constantly reminded his team that it was them or nobody, Doug Lankler, the company’s executive vice president and general counsel recently told Cornell University students and alumni during its Eclectic Conference in NYC. Bourla pushed his team to accomplish more than they thought they had the time for– but it always seemed to work out. “Time and time again people would go off and reexamine things and then come back and say, actually, we can do it faster,” Lankler said.

Wanderlust : a restaurant or activity from our Top Ecosystems list

Next time you travel to Indianapolis, give in to your sweet tooth at The Cake Bake Shop. The elegant cafe serves gourmet cakes, pies and pastries alongside its full menu of salads, sandwiches and soups. If you’re craving something lighter, stop by for afternoon tea at either of its two locations. Currently, its shops are like stepping into a winter wonderland.

Made in the USA

Want to make a small change to reduce your personal waste? Try switching your dryer sheets for a reusable wool dryer ball. This set of three comes in white ($27.95) or multicolored ($29.95). Each is made from scrap yarn and lasts for over 1,000 loads of laundry.

Upcoming Opportunities ⭐

To list an opportunity in our newsletter, check out our rates here. We cover the emerging economy of diverse founders:


1. The Times of E’s first event: Challenges Met, Opportunities Ahead

Gather with other university entrepreneurship professionals, professors and students to hear from NPR’s Planet Money co-host Stacey Vanek Smith, Foundry Group Managing Director Seth Levine, George Washington University’s Associate Director of Student Entrepreneurship Programs Scott Stein, The Ask author Laura Fredericks and Times of E founder and editor Elizabeth MacBride. Levine and MacBride are co-authors of The New Builders.

2. Startups without Borders Summit

Engage with tech powerhouses, learn about industry trends, network, and pitch at the Startup World Cup for a chance to win $1M, or get matched with a potential backer in the Investors’ Room. Featured speakers include SAP’s Hoda Manseur, Dell Technologies Pierluca Chiodelli and Microsoft for Startups’ Roberto Croci. Times of E founder Elizabeth MacBride will moderate a panel discussion.

Use this promo code for free tickets: SWBxTOE

 Date: Dec. 11-12
 Location: Streamed live from Cairo and Rome

3. Blue Forest Conservation is looking for an Investment Associate to join its team

Applicants interested in the position, which offers a salary expected to be in the $75,000 to $85,000 range, should send a cover letter and resume. This small, innovative climate finance non-profit firm develops financial tools to address pressing environmental challenges.

 Date: Posting will run until filled.
 Location: Remote; Northern California preferred.


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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 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.