white-haired couple, man with an arm around the woman
Jamey and Brian Elrod

A note from our editor, Elizabeth MacBride:

This week, we have a story that looks at what it’s like to be a small business owner as omicron sweeps over the United States. Two weeks ago, as we started to see the headlines from Europe, I went on a trip to New York and hosted my family here for a pre-holiday weekend. If there’s anything I’ve learned from the pandemic, it’s to seize the day – sometimes, seizing an opportunity at work, sometimes seizing the moment enjoy life, sometimes recognizing the need to pause and reflect. We’re taking next week off from the newsletter, though we’ll still be posting stories, and will be back again Jan. 5, and working on our first event.

You’ll get a sense of the community that we’re creating here at Times of E as you look at our most read stories of the year. It can feel like the big economy and the pursuit of money controls everything. But the real power always lies with individuals, especially people of conscience. There are more of you than you realize, influencing from within and without organizations.

I hope you’re gathering with many good people this holiday season.

Top 15 Most Popular Times of E Stories, 2021

How Michigan Grew Its Startup Ecosystem
JP Morgan Is Investing $2.5 Trillion for Climate Change
20 Great Places to Start a Business After the Pandemic
As A $3 Billion Boom Hits Louisville, a New Generation of Black Leaders Arises
VC Fund Returns are More Skewed Than You Think
A Far-Sighted Foundation and a Private Equity Magnate Pour $200M Into Portland
Reinventing the Business Model for Food Production
Insight Into the Top 20 University Entrepreneurship Competitions
Elaine Arkansas Struggles To Remember the Worst Case of Racial Violence in US History
Out of Delta Dirt, A Bright Clean Splash of Hope
A Young Tech Millionaire Moved to Boise. Now He’s Humbler and More Connected
Investors Who Ignore LatinX Entrepreneurs May be Ignoring the Next Big Thing
Canvas CEO Steps Down after $50M Round Incited Racial Controversy about Who Gets Funded
How Climate Innovators are Bypassing the Power Grid
Covid 19 Lessons from Past Crises Points to a Long and Hopeful Road for Entrepreneurs

Support of $25 means you’ll receive a free copy of our 7 Deadly Sins of Founders Dealing with the Media.

Learn more about our listening tours here.

Times of Entrepreneurship Stories of the Week

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They’re Crucial to the U.S. Economy. But Small Business Owners Say They Are at the End of Their Ropes as Omicron Sweeps Across U.S.

A Complex Array of Government Aid Complicates the Picture; ‘Eerie, Slightly Traumatic, Deja Vu’: How Founders Are Navigating the Latest Wave of the Pandemic.

Read the Story »

Little Rock, Arkansas

Innovation Surges in Arkansas, but White Men Received 100% of Arkansas’ Venture Capital Funding in 2020, Report Shows

University of Arkansas Found Six VC Deals in the State, but Patents Have Been Climbing Steadily.

Read the Story »


Problem Solved: How New and Holdout Business Owners Can Get Online 

Plus, the Basics: Rules for Building an Online Presence.

Read the Story »

white man in black

The Day Jeff Bezos Sent A Severed Horse Head To Square

In This Excerpt from The Innovation Stack, Jim McKelvey Talks About Facing Down a Competitive Threat from Amazon.

Read the Story »

You may have missed

30-Year Veterans of Entrepreneurship Share 9 Keys To Success Brian and Jamey Elrod Founded Text Request in Chattanooga, Tenn., in 2014. It’s a Bootstrapped, High-Growth Firm. Read it here.

Will Smith Gave this Activist Owner’s Philadelphia Bookshop a Boost Named For Harriett Tubman and Ida B. Wells, These Businesses Survived the Pandemic Because They Spread Authentic Hope. Read it here.

How Much Nature do You Need? A Data Company from University of Oregon has an Answer As ‘Technostress, Grows, People Seek a Return to Nature to Slow Down and Embrace the Calm and Quiet. Read it here.

A Man From Silicon Valley Moved To Colorado’s Front Range, And Found A Place To Heal In a recent article for Forbes, Times of Entrepreneurship editor and Founder, Elizabeth MacBride shares how rural America is the future of social innovation.
Read it here.

Living the dream

Best Practices: To avoid burnout this holiday season, set boundaries and be realistic with your end of year goals. You can start by identifying your non-negotiables, the activities you won’t compromise on, such as exercise or reading a book, and stick to it, Emily Ballesteros, a burnout management coach in Chicago told CNBC. Also, communicate the work you plan to complete by the end of the year with your manager to stay on track, Laura McGoodwin, founder of job resource platform Career Contessa, suggests.

Buzzworthy: What if everything you’ve been told about business is wrong? Although the myth of the white male tech founder dominates our mindshare, most new businesses are started by people who are Black, Brown, female and older. Many are immigrants and people left out of the narrative. Times of E editor Elizabeth MacBride and venture capitalist Seth Levine take a close look at a trend that is transforming the American economy in The New Builders, now available as an audio book!


The 4.5 hour workweek: A productivity hack

Want to know when you’re most productive? Consider tracking your time to find out. List every task in a day, from when you wake up to when you go to sleep, and take notice when you get the most done. Also, note when you naturally get bursts of energy – some experts suggest tracking your energy level from 1-10 each hour to get an accurate sense. Once you know how you work, you can schedule more challenging tasks at your most productive hours.

Wanderlust : a restaurant or activity from our Top Ecosystems list

When you’re in Phoenix checking out the entrepreneurship scene, stop by the Phoenix Art Museum. It holds the largest collection in the Southwest U.S. and displays mediums from photography to sculpture in its garden. The museum is currently exhibiting pieces that show the mining culture of the west. It’s open Wednesday through Sunday.

Made in the USA

Need a last minute gift? Consider this leave-in conditioner from Baltimore-based Oyin Handmade. Its formula is 100% natural and it offers product refills to reduce bottle waste. Choose from citrus lavender, sweet berry or frankincense and myrrh. The 8 oz bottle goes for $13.99 and 1 liter refill for $34.99.

Oyin Handmade sells a line of hair, body and bath products, all made from natural materials, such as honey and oat protein. Its founder Jamyla Bennu has been selling the food-grade formulas since 2003 and created them with curly, kinky and coily hair in mind.

Want to buy from mission-driven businesses this holiday season? Find some more socially-responsible gift ideas on this list of Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship alumni. Sponsored by the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

Upcoming Opportunities ⭐

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

Link: https://bit.ly/TimesofEOpportunities

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.

 Date: Jan. 26-Jan. 28, 2021
 Location: Virtual
Link: https://timesofe.com/events/

2. StichCrew’s New Accelerator for Women

StitchCrew has re-launched to focus on women and non-binary founders. The ideal applicant has already achieved some revenue, can show demand through paying customers and are ready to take their company to the next level. You don’t need to have a venture-backable idea. Companies who have raised or are making more than $1,000,000 in revenue do not qualify. We are not trying to exclude anyone but would rather focus on those who can’t afford to join private networks and coaching. StichCrew is based in Oklahoma City but the accelerator is mostly virtual (some meetings could be in-person). See Times of E’s coverage of one of the founders of the new accelerator: A Bad-Ass Woman in Oklahoma City Gets the Credit She Deserves.

 Date: Feb. 2022 – Feb. 2023
 Location: Mostly virtual
Link: https://www.stitchcrew.com/apply

3. $10K Grant for Restaurants

DoorDash and Hello Allce are running this grant program for restaurants affected by federally declared natural disasters, such as the recent tornados and winds in the Midwest.

 Date: Applications close Jan. 31
Location: N/A
Link: https://doordash.helloalice.com/?utm_source=Newsletter+Inclusions&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DoorDash_Grant_1&goal=0_18427d7730-5d026c96f4-435132212&mc_cid=5d026c96f4&mc_eid=e7cdc700c2


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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.