A note from our editor, Elizabeth MacBride:
At our event last week, Nina Roberts, a stellar freelance writer, asked me why I thought big media doesn’t cover small business very much.
The left-wing media, the news outlets we’ve both written for and read, like The Atlantic, or The New York Times or The Washington Post, are ostensibly the champions of the underdogs. Small businesses are big-time underdogs in an increasingly monopolistic economy. (Lori Ioannou wrote about this evolving dynamic in the creator economy this week).
Capital is Bad, Labor is Good
One reason the big outlets don’t cover small business much, I believe, is that the big newsrooms hew to an increasingly rigid Progressive economic ideology: capital is bad, labor is good. They only have room for a certain number of underdogs, and small businesses are not instant victims. (The big media’s abandonment of the small business constituency to organizations like Fox may be one reason so many small business owners, an estimated 60%-plus, voted for Donald Trump.)
But there’s a more important underlying reason. If you include small businesses in serious conversations about the economy, the questions get more complicated and less emotional – and more solve-able.
Is the immigrant owner of a chain of small businesses who underpays employees a good guy or a bad guy? Is a small business that gets overwhelmed and doesn’t fulfill orders the object of outrage or sympathy? Increasing the rate of small business ownership is also one of the few changes (government safety net measures are others) that would put real wealth into the hands of people who don’t have it.
Small business is inherently gray, and it’s in the gray area, the nuances and the details, that we find shared language, and ultimately, agree on progress. I think that’s why small business doesn’t get much coverage in the big outlets. Both political sides are avoiding conversations that could lead to real change, in this case economic change. Change would mean letting go of the blindness that keeps us happy and the anger that in some ways sustains us.
Last week, I had all these thoughts in my mind as I was driving down my street when I saw a neighbor walking. When we were younger, we hung out together, during neighborhood snowstorm parties and summertime happy hours. Then, the country’s political issues moved onto my street. More words and phrases became unspeakable, slights were flying, and more things became incontrovertible signs that someone was good or bad.
I’m not sure how, or whether, my neighbor and I can get back to shared standards. But I pulled the car up beside him and rolled down the window. “Hey, I just wanted to say that I miss talking to you,’ I said, and I added that in general, I miss talking to people who are different than I am.
He said he’d been having some of the same thoughts. “Let’s hang out,” he said, and I agreed.
Times of Entrepreneurship
Stories of the Week
Top 20 University Entrepreneurship Competitions Revealed at Challenges Met, Opportunities Ahead
George Washington U, Rice and University of Notre Dame Top List at Event that also Included Jim McKelvey.
Commentary: University Entrepreneurship: Education or Venture Creation?
Most Universities’ Commercial Spin-Out Success Stories Happened Outside the Entrepreneurship Center and Educational Programs. Are We Really OK with That?
Accessing Money Tools: NFTs Explained, And How Creators Can Take Advantage of Web3
A Former Miss Utah Went to $800,000 in Revenue with Merchandise and Creator Fund Payouts.
A Gold Rush Mentality is Taking Hold in the Creator Economy
Hundreds of Thousands Join Platforms To Make Money, as a Few Make Fortunes and Venture Capitalists Fund the Expansion.
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Changemakers: A California Occupational Therapist has an Invention to Help People with Disabilities Reach the Sea Access Trax was Born in a College Course, When a Surfer-Professor Proposed a Challenge. Read it here.
The Next Generation Of Business Leaders Is Redefining Grit. But They Still Might Not Succeed Business Leadership Norms Are Changing, As the Entrepreneurial Landscape Shifts Toward Women and People of Color. There Are New Pitfalls for Today’s Entrepreneurs. Read it here.
Living the dream
Best Practices: Next time you’re asking someone for funding and they give you a vague response, get to the bottom of it, Laura Fredricks, a coach and author of The Ask, shared during Times of E‘s event last week. Never make assumptions of what a “let me think about this,” or “I’ll get back to you” means. Instead, ask them to share what they’re thinking — once you know whether it’s a timing issue, that they’ve received too many asks recently or something else entirely, you can go from there. “If you’re not on the same runway, you will never get an answer,” she said.
Buzzworthy: Marita Golden, author and writing coach, will be honored this year at the Washington Writers Conference. She’s the author of 17 works of fiction and nonfiction, including, most recently, The Strong Black Woman: How a Myth Endangers the Physical and Mental Health of Black Women. She also co-founded the Hurston/Wright Foundation, which has supported a global community of Black writers for three decades.
The 4.5 hour workweek: A productivity hack
Before you go to bed tonight, grab a notebook and a pen. Jason Aten of Inc. calls this the “nightstand notebook method”. Spend a few minutes jotting down ideas, tasks you don’t want to forget, or emails you have to send the next day. Doing this will allow you to start your day with a clear list of to-dos and will free your mind to get to sleep more quickly.
Wanderlust : a restaurant or activity from our Top Ecosystems list
A trip to the Boise Art Museum is a must-do when visiting Boise, ID. With a focus on community, the museum creates an atmosphere ripe for exploration for visitors of all kinds. Its current exhibition, Many Wests: Artists Shape an American Idea, is open through Feb. 13 and explores how art has shaped “our understanding of the life, history and myths of the American West.”
Made in the USA
The Everywhere Spray from Omaha-based, woman-owned Nomad Wax Co. is perfect for, well… everywhere. Available for $20, this product can be used as a body spray or throughout your home.
Upcoming Opportunities ⭐
To list an opportunity in our newsletter, check out our rates here. We cover the emerging economy of diverse founders:
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.
2. The Federation of American Scientists Seeking Entrepreneurship and Regional Innovation Lead
The Federation of American Scientists is seeking a lead to manage a growing portfolio of work focused on entrepreneurship and regional innovation, with a focus on helping regional actors access high-impact federal resources. Please spread the word!
Location: Washington, D.C.
3. VC Scout Peter Bergstrom Searching for Start-up Projects Targeting Web3 Metaverse
Peter Bergstrom has direct access to Venture Capitalists wanting to invest in metaverse gaming projects. He is currently looking for the following start-up projects: Metaverse (world builder) games with a multi-genre customer onboarding universe, play-to-earn games, infrastructure platforms targeting the web3 gaming metaverse (eco-system).
Recommended Submission Details:
Email your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org, preferably with a 5-10 page pitch deck including: Why is blockchain, P2E, and/or NFTs making your project better than without? What is the business opportunity you are targeting? How have you paid for your project so far? For how long and how much money have you raised and from who?
Also include: an executive summary, vision, genre, computer format, technology/engine, description of game, gameplay and platform functionality, market data, marketing roadmap, 3-5 USPs, competitive analysis, blockchain tech usage and adaptation, business model, tokenmonics, P&L including model and assumptions, team description, advisor description, tech/marketing/financial/platform partner description, project roadmap, rendered artwork showing look, visions and atmosphere of the project, an alpha version playable/usable demo, video showing a vertical slice of actual (early) gameplay or project functionality.
Link: Send submissions to email@example.com
4. Render Launches Second Iteration of Reconstruct Challenge worth $750,000
Render has announced a new partnership with Access Ventures to award a second national prize focusing on addressing barriers to employment in the United States. Five winning innovations will receive $100,000 each, with one innovation receiving an additional $250,000 to scale further. The challenge is open to anyone in the United States as long as the beta test of the innovation takes place in Jefferson County, KY, or Floyd and Clark County, IN.
Registration Deadline: April 29, 2022
Application Deadline: May 27, 2022
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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.