A note from our editor, Elizabeth MacBride:

Nice statements sometimes aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

In August 2019, the Business Roundtable updated its principles of governance to say that the purpose of a corporation is to “promote an economy that serves all Americans.” CEOs from 181 publicly traded companies signed the Principles that purportedly signaled an end to Milton Friedman’s doctrine of shareholder primacy established in the 1970s, noted a recent analysis of the companies’ behavior since the signing. The analysis was done by KKS Advisors using data from TruValue Labs (a social good data company I’ve been following for a while).

KKS Advisors, supported by the Ford Foundation, found the big companies were just as ruthless as the non-signatory companies. If you want more evidence of what hasn’t change, consider another recent analysis by the center-left Brookings Institution. Brookings found profits at 13 big retail companies rose a combined $16.9 billion, or 39%, this year. Average pay for front-line workers was up only $1.11 an hour, or 10%, since the pandemic began. Big retailers aren’t offering hazard pay anymore.

What will it take to change the behavior of big companies? They have an ingrained culture of shareholder primacy that took hold easily because it was built on centuries of entitlement and law designed to keep capital in the hands of people who already had it.

Change won’t come from statements or a ham-handed attempts to redefine the fiduciary standard. Rather, I think: Labor market competition that comes from a renewal of entrepreneurship will help reset the workplace dynamic. More people will chose ownership, and more people will chose to work in the environments created by owner-operators.

Small companies are by no means definitionally better, but having more choices about the quality and characteristics of your work life are. Some people are profit-driven. My guess is that many in my daughters’ generation, shaped by the social upheaval of the past few years and the pandemic, will value health, dignity, security and time with family and friends from a younger age.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

— Elizabeth MacBride, founder of Times of Entrepreneurship

Times of Entrepreneurship Stories of the Week

Just Say No To Pumpkin Hummus. How Immigrant Food Entrepreneurs Process Thanksgiving.

Four immigrant entrepreneurs trust their instincts through a complicated holiday season, adapting and experimenting cautiously. 

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Man holding an app showing details of COVID spread

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.

Read the Story »

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A Dutch Cheesemaker Helps Feed A Wisconsin Dairy Community

Ag and social impact entrepreneurs are adapting to the hunger crisis by setting up a distribution chain from their businesses to food banks.  

Read the Story »

Sponsored Content

UVA Wise and Entrepreneurship in Appalachian Virginia

Can a state higher education institution add entrepreneurship to a region’s economic development agenda and create more options for students? An impact profile produced by Times of Entrepreneurship, working with the Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation at Georgetown University and supported by Lumina Foundation.

Important Stories from Elsewhere

HHS Secretary Says Vaccine Distribution Could Begin Within Weeks, Pending FDA Approval
Secretary Alex Azar says Pfizer’s vaccine could be evaluated by an FDA committee “soon after” it meets on Dec. 10.

Recession With A Difference: Women Face A Special Burden.
Female-dominated jobs got hit first. Then the second wave started taking out local government jobs, where women outnumber men. According to the Census Bureau, a third of unemployed working women ages 25 to 44 said it was because of childcare demands. Only 12% of men cited the same demands.

Community-driven companies: What They Are And Why We’re Investing In Them
Lolita Taub, co-founder and general partner at Community Fund, explains why companies with community at the core will become future unicorns.

Small Business Saturday Is Coming: Here’s How To Support Local Businesses
American Express’s 11th annual Small Business Saturday is November 28. Here’s how you can “Shop Small” and support your local community.

The Next Silicon Valley Will Have No Zip Code
Silicon Valley’s reign as the epicenter of technology innovation is coming to an end.

New In KC: Quarantine With Family Leads Techmate Founder To Open Office in Kansas City
The on-demand tech support business for remote and satellite workers recently completed a pre-seed round.

The Education App That’s Making Equals of Bill Gates And The World’s Masses
Pittsburgh-based Duolingo started out as a computer science project for co-founders Severin Hacker and Luis von Ahn.

Corporate Employees Working From Home Are Creating A Surge In Startups
People are creating new businesses at an unprecedented rate. Working from home during the pandemic has accelerated a millennial trend.

Work From Home Raises Productivity But May Be Blighting Startup Culture
Report: Lower costs and a ‘flatter’ world of more opportunities but teamwork, innovation and loyalty suffer.

The World’s Most Valuable Unicorn In 2020
76 companies reached $1 billion status. Number one hails from India.

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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.


Hormel Business Plan Competition
Deadline: Nov. 30
Location: McCook Community College, Southwest Nebraska
Information available here.

Residents of seven counties in Southwest Nebraska can compete for $25,000 in prizes based on their business ideas or plans to expand an existing business. The Hormel Family Foundation, focused on education, entrepreneurship, and business development in the region, is sponsoring the competition.

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.

Women4Woman Summits: Reset, Restart and Get Ready for 2021
Date: December 1, 6:30-8:45 pm
Location: Virtual
Information available here.
Radio personality and entrepreneur Joan Hermann and podcaster and author Allison Carmen will interview guests including serial entrepreneur May McCarthy and literary agent Karen Brailsford to help women find their voice, create courage and resilience, master business communication skills and invest in themselves.

Look Forward to Your Exit in 2021
Date: December 2, 2020, noon to 1 pm
Location: Virtual
Information available here.

Aimed at business owners who are looking to exit, this webinar focuses on maximizing the value of your business, the pros and cons of selling internally versus externally, leadership and succession strategies and avoidance of top deal-killers.

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.

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.

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.