Times of Entrepreneurship Stories

Why Today’s Small Businesses Can’t Get Bank Loans

The number of U.S. institutions has shrunk from 14,400 to fewer than 5,000. Tech companies and CDFIs can’t fill the gap left by the death of community banks.

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VC Spotlight: New York-based Chloe Capital

A women-led VC firm, Chloe Capital, got off the ground using special purpose vehicles and instituting a superstar tour to find talented women in second-tier cities. Now, it’s signed on Bank of America as an LP.

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What You May Have Missed

Tech Investment Is Helping Buffalo Come Back, But Immigrants Are The Real Secret.

Tech Investment Is Helping Buffalo Come Back, But Immigrants Are The Real Secret. There’s a little-noticed, still fragile economic comeback in Buffalo, which has gone from being the butt of jokes to having a quiet buzz in entrepreneurship circles. The question of what happens to places like Buffalo now seems of pressing national importance, a test of whether capitalism and democracy can deliver equitable and free lives for most of its people. Read more here.

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VC Spotlight: Forgepoint Capital Rides A Cybersecurity Wave

The war in Ukraine is propelling even more growth in the cybersecurity market. Attacks — probably originated by the Russian government — continue on the infrastructure of Ukraine, European countries aiding the Ukrainians, and the United States. Forgepoint Capital is one of the largest VCs operating in the cybersecurity spaced, it was founded by a serial entrepreneur who is also Peruvian immigrant to the United States. Read the spotlight here.

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25 Million Sparks: Refugee Entrepreneurs Are The Untold Stories

I was stunned to open 25 Million Sparks and was stunned that one of the refugee entrepreneurs I wrote about almost a decade ago for CNBC was still in the Za’atri refugee camp in Jordan. Asma is one of three heroes of Andrew Leon Hanna’s book, which I reviewed for the Washington Independent. Read the review here:
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What I’m reading

The economy seems to be swirling down the drain: Like everybody, I’m increasingly worried about the economy. Here are two things I’ve read in that regard lately. First, if you’re looking for guidance, you could do much worse than Vanguard’s outlook. It says that returns for U.S. stocks will be depressed for the next few years. I think the rebound could be faster than Vanguard thinks – on the simple argument that economic cycles seem to be faster all the time.

I also think inflation will cool faster than expected – based on the fact that Americans who were punch drunk after the pandemic’s end are rapidly running out of money. Samit Handa, the former CIO of Philidelphia and now hed of Pennington Partners, pointed me to the fact that “About 1 in 6 American households are behind on their utility bills, the highest number on record, according to the National Energy Assistance Directors Association.” If you want a good guide for investing in good times and bad, check out my friend Charley Ellis’s new book, Figuring It Out.

When I look across the early-stage economy, though, I see plenty of signs for hope for a new, more thoughtful wave of innovation, one that is less focused on scale and more on returns, both financial and social For instance, a company called 8B Investments burst out at the Clinton Global Initiative with a partnership with Nelnet to enable $30M of lending to students from Africa who want to study in the United States. (Disclosure: 8B is one of the investee companies of Armory Square Ventures, which is sponsoring a series of city profiles at Times of E this fall.) In another paradoxical sign of hope, Google cut its innovation budget. My opinion is that Big Tech has been sucking all of the innovative energy out of the room. Big companies are rarely the source of the best ideas.

Truth is stranger than fiction: In a scene pasted from a dystopian movie, Amazon hires an ex-private prison executive to run its warehouse training, according to Matt Stoller from BIG.

And finally, I’ve been watching the hijab protests in Iran, sparked by the death of a woman in the custody of the morality police. There’s a new protest coalition building, one that must scare the regime: conservative women have joined the movement, which also could continue to pull in the oppressed Kurdish minority. The woman who was killed, Mahsa Amini, was Kurdish – it will be interesting to see whether her Kurdish first name, Jhina, becomes more widely used. Don’t think for a moment this doesn’t matter here, in the United States. Iranian-Americans are incredibly powerful in the tech world – and the innovation economy continues to draw on talent from Iran.

Christopher Wolfel, whom I met last year on a visit to Portland, Maine, just became an associate vice president for entrepreneurship and venture creation at Northeastern University, another sign the Boston-based university system is investing in this area.

Meanwhile, I’m really interested in reporting on the Microsoft Exchange hack in 2021, which targeted small businesses. If you were affected or know a company that was, I’d love to speak with them: emacbride@timesofe.com.

Living the dream

Buzzworthy: Five tips for band building on social media. One big idea: Get off the big platforms and find those that target your niche market. Read more (the tips are at the end of this article: here.)

Best Practices: Focus on work-life, rather than pay

Best Practices: Retention is still hard in this economy, where decent pay is table stakes. Rather than focusing on increasing salaries (that might be next year’s obsession) now is the time to focus on flexible work-life initiatives. A FlexJobs survey of 4,000 professions found 63%, given the option, would pick better work-life balance over better pay.


A Life-Work Hack: A Fast Cure for Stage FrightIf you’re giving a speech, take a couple minutes ahead of time to open your stance: Stand with your palms up and arms extended. Most people subconsciously take a protected stance, such as with their arms crossed or behind their backs, which means you’re more focused on you, and less on the needs of your audience.

One Fun Place To Go: If you’re looking for a fall getaway, here are two great places. The Sherwood Inn, in Skeneateles, NY. The foliage in the Finger Lakes region is stunning. For a lower-budget retreat, Shrinemont in southwest Virginia, costs less than $125 a night, meals included. Here’s our list of Top Ecosystems, which includes lots of ideas for how to connect with entrepreneurs when you’re on business travel.

 Made in America: Bookshop.org is donating 20% of sales from this collection of Puerto Rican stories to help the island recover from Hurricane Fiona.

Upcoming Opportunities ⭐

To list an opportunity in our newsletter that reaches 13,000 influencers and entrepreneurs, email emacbride@timesofe.com. We charge $200 per listing.

Link: https://bit.ly/TimesofEOpportunities

1. Support Women’s Business Centers
Women’s Business Centers are ginning up support or a legislative reauthorization of Women’s Business Centers, indexing the budget for this SBA program to inflation. There are 147 women’s business centers across the country that operate as public-private partnerships. This is a good program targeted to one of the fastest-growing groups of entrepreneurs today. 
Date: N/A
Location: N/A
Link: here

2. 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.

Date: N/A
Location: N/A
Link: https://bit.ly/3dE6rZh

3. Nestle Youth Acclerator

Nestle launched its platform for youth entrepreneurs, including an R&D accelerator. An open challenge for science-based startups is currently accepting applicants and will be for the news four months or so. The platform is here. Info about the acclerator at the link below.

Deadline to apply: December


4. Pipeline Fellowship

Applications are open for the Midwest’s prestigious Pipeline Fellowship, a year-long program that often leads to funding for entrepreneurs (and focuses on under-served founders).
Deadline to apply: Nov. 16
Location: kansas City


5. South Florida Space Day

The Alan B. Levan | NSU Broward Center of Innovation will focus on trends, challenges, opportunities, and strategies of entrepreneurship within the space sector and will also include panels, seminars, an entrepreneur showcase, a business expo, networking opportunities and an entrepreneur pitch event. The event is free and open to the public.

Date: Oct. 12
Location: Tallahassee, Fla.


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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.

A business journalist for 20 years, am the founder of Times of Entrepreneurship and the co-author of The New Builders.