Times of Entrepreneurship Stories

Surprising Economists, Small Business Surges Across America

Aundrea and Darnell Owens of Frankfort, Ky., put everything on the line to start a retail co-op while they both continue to work. Their story sheds light on what’s going on behind the data about the increase in entrepreneurial ambition across America. By Elizabeth MacBride …

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A Crop Intelligence Startup Backed by Salesforce’s Benioff Aims to Help Farmers Feed the World

An agtech company, Taranis, founded by four Israelis, that is uses drone technology to provide crop intelligence to agricultural firms. It’s backed by Salesforce’s Marc Benioff beause of its potential to increase food supplies. By Lori Ioannou …

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VC Spotlight: Living Cities’ $100M Fund of Funds

Nonprofit Living Cities is raising a $100 million fund of funds to invest in fund managers who in turn are investing in businesses owned by people of color. … By Elizabeth MacBride.

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Angel Investors Are The Engines Of The Women’s Economy

Amid a decline in VC investing in women-led startups — to less than 2%! — some women are emerging as leaders in the space … By Silvia Mah.

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What You May Have Missed

A Saint With A Javelin In Hand

“Anyone who has read about the war in Ukraine on social media, or donated to charities there has likely come across a striking illustration of Saint Javelin. Designed to reference the religious icons in Eastern European Christianity, she’s draped in green, staring serenely back at the viewer. But she’s holding an anti-tank guided missile, a Javelin, diagonally across her chest.” … By Nina Roberts.

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The Midwest Used To Get Knocked For Its Conservatism. These Days, That Looks Like A Strength

The number of businesses in Indiana is surging, with the number of new formations up 51% in 2022 over 2019, to about 83,500 – a sign of economic growth to come. The broad approach seems to be working. In terms of growth, Indiana looks more like a sunbelt state, said Kristian Andersen, a partner at High Alpha, a venture firm based in Indianapolis. … By Elizabeth MacBride.

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VC Spotlight: Cake Ventures Invests In Demographic Chang

Cake Ventures focuses on startups that harness these demographic shifts in the Internet user base: the large population of aging boomers, the increased spending power of women, the growing number of people of color and shrinking number of the white population… by Ellen Chang.

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News With A Future Spin

Infrastructure for Financing Innovation. Two friends of Times of E, Pia Sawhney, partner at Armory Square Ventures and Dina Sherif, executive director of the MIT Legatum Center for Entrepreneurship and Development, published an op-ed in CNBC about how much innovation has changed since Silicon Valley Bank was founded. As the system is reinvented, it needs to go global, for the middle of the United States and for innovators abroad. Read the story here.

Great Power Economic Confrontation China and the United States are already in what some observers are calling a “great power confrontation.” TikTok is one episode. The U.S. seeks to force a sale in the wake of revelations over the past five years of Chinese espionage and data theft through TikTok and other companies. Read the story here. The big worry is that great power confrontation erupts into great power conflict, which hasn’t happened since World War II.
There were two fascinating examples of women’s leadership this week. For 30 years, the flight attendants union has been lobbying to require that babies have their own seats during flights, where they can be strapped in during turbulence. In the absence of those regulations, a handful of children have died. But still, no regulation. Read the story here.
And, newly minted Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh used her moment of glory to talk about service: “If I can do one thing with this moment of my professional joy, it would be to point the spotlight on those who all too often go unacknowledged, the women who are rebuilding their communities, taking care of children and older people and putting food on the table. Let’s make sure they are not missing from the room when decisions are being made that affect them the most.” Read her op-ed here.
We’re still paying attention to ChatGPT and other programs like it. Over the next few years, we expect an international group will need to coalesce to set standards for AI. “ChatGPT exhibits something like the banality of evil: plagiarism and apathy and obviation. It summarizes the standard arguments in the literature by a kind of super-autocomplete, refuses to take a stand on anything, pleads not merely ignorance but lack of intelligence and ultimately offers a “just following orders” defense, shifting responsibility to its creators.” Linguist Noam Chomsky, writing in the NY Times. Read the op-ed here. And this article from The New Yorker about a scientistic thinker who examines difference between sensation and perception, and the realm of the soul. Read the story here.

Living the dream

Best Practices: How To Evaluate “PR” Opportunities
Ilana Zalika founded Resound Marketing in Princeton, N.J. in 2003. She wrote this advice about the new practice of celebrity-produced content. “Dennis Quaid emailed us and wants to feature us on his show!” Does he though? Nothing against Dennis Quaid. Who doesn’t love The Parent Trap?
But now, Dennis hosts a series called Viewpoint, which “produces educational segments for Public Television distribution.” The idea is that they produce a video for you and then it airs on TV. Except that it probably doesn’t air on TV. That part is not actually guaranteed.
So now I’m mad at Dennis Quaid, because this is not PR. Turns out, Viewpoint comes with a hefty price tag that you won’t hear about upfront. Apparently the city of Pittsfield, Mass., dropped $27k on it. You have to ask yourself: is it worth it?
If media exposure is your goal, the answer is no. Which is what I told a client last week – when Montel Williams offered something similar. This might also take the form of Morgan Fairchild. Or Kathy Ireland. Still no. If content creation is your goal, I’d give it a maybe. A percentage of $27k for the corporate identity video you get to keep isn’t outrageous. It’s actually a really nice video. And video’s expensive.
Here’s the thing. The PR industry is changing, and paid opportunities like this are not going away. Some are bad. But some might actually be worth it. Brands and companies just need to know how to vet them. To start:
1. Ask for costs upfront, before you schedule a call. “Thanks for reaching out. This sounds interesting! Is there a cost associated with it?”
2. Question the value. Getting a gorgeous piece of content is great. But it’s not PR. So what is its purpose…and does it serve yours?
3. Ask a PR professional. Many of us are keeping running lists of opportunities like this…good and bad.
Buzzworthy: The Mount Vernon School in Atlanta “Because the courses are shorter, there is a richness to their variety – everything from The Art of DJ to Interactive Game Design to That’s Unconstitutional . . . Or Is It? But the crown jewel of the school is the Innovation Diploma (ID), which is no longer a small boutique-y experiment, but a distinct learning pathway in the school that involves around 30% of the student body – all of whom must apply to be accepted.” From Sam Chaltain’s Substack, Letters on the Future of Learning


Time Hack: If you accessorize your outfits with different bags, or carry different briefcases or suitcases, stock each one with the essentials, from pens and notebooks to makeup, tissues and hand sanitizer. That way, all you have to worry about each morning are your keys and wallet.
Made in the USA: The laws governing shipping spirits have slowly been loosening. If you’re in one of these places: Kentucky, DC, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Alaska and some military bases, you can buy Frankford, Ky.-based Castle & Key liquors online. The company has won accolates for its restoration of a historic distillery. Restoration Rye (and others) is for sale here.

Upcoming Opportunities ⭐

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Link: https://bit.ly/TimesofEOpportunities

1. Halcyon House Fellowships

 Washington, D.C.-based Halcyon House is accepting applications for its Halcyon Opportunity Intensive Fellowship in Fall 2023, its Climate Resilience in Latin America and the Caribbean Intensive Fellowship and Halcyon Food & Agtech in Africa Intensive Fellowship. The accelerators don’t take equity stakes.

Where: Some programming is in person in Washington, D.C.
Deadline: April 28
2. Robotics Factory Launches

Pittsburgh-based Innovation Works is launching the Robotics Factory to create, accelerate and scale startups and manufacturers. The Robotics Factory’s program lasts seven-months and is designed for pre- and early- stage startups. Companies will locate in the Pittsburgh facility and will receive an investment of $100,000, mentorship and resources. Entrepreneurs developing robotic and related technologies are encouraged to apply when the application cycle opens Feb 1, 2023.

Location: Pittsburgh
Deadline to apply: May 20, 2023
3. 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

4. BK-XL


A new accelerator invests as much as $500,000 in founders of color. Entrepreneurs from around the world are eligible and asked to move to Brooklyn for mentoring.
Applications opened: https://bk-xl.com/


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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.