A note from our editor, Elizabeth MacBride:

When the National Association of Manufacturers moved rapidly to condemn the events of Jan. 6, I noticed. The Association, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is an old, politically powerful part of the business lobby that loves conservatism and has lately been in the pretty tight embrace of Republican party.

But the Republican party, these days, looks anything but conservative. We saw signs of businesses’ dissatisfaction with its populist wing when business leaders started to openly condemn the NRA a few years ago. Storming the Capitol, the assaults on the vote — these may be the breaking point. Authoritarian regimes driven by populism aren’t good for business.

The business community is up for grabs, politically, more than it has been in decades. At present the Democrats look pretty tightly allied with big labor: President Joe Biden’s campaign support for laws that make it harder for the gig economy to function, and the discussion of a $15 minimum wage, are seen by many as a sign that he would put labor even above freelancers and small businesses, defining people with an entrepreneurial spirit more as victims of big business than as underdogs. Attacking big businesses under the guise of helping small businesses in the service of big labor would be particularly cynical.
If Biden Administration wants to win businesses over — necessary to rebuild after the pandemic — it should avoid the temptation to assault big business on the whole.

Some big companies are bad actors, and, encouraged by the incentives in the stock market today, yield to the temptation of short-term thinking by lobbying for regulations that protect their market share. Anti-trust laws don’t always keep up and need to be adjusted. Things get out of balance (this is one of the arguments Seth Levine and I make in our book, The New Builders, coming out on May 4).

The wise policies that will win allies from the NFIB up to the Business Roundtable are those that support a dynamic economy, in which all kinds of businesses, started by all kinds of people, regularly grow bigger in size or influence, or die, or thrive. That ends up being good for everybody.

Times of Entrepreneurship Stories of the Week

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In Elaine, Arkansas, The Struggle To Remember The Worst Case Of Racial Violence In U.S. History

A group of descendants of survivors of the Massacre wants to build a civil rights museum in the decimated downtown. Including the video: Of Concrete And Skin: The Story Of The Elaine Massacre Memorial.

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2020 Survivor Story: Tumbleweed Turns Online

The pandemic gave this retailer a chance to show that shopping small is a different experience.

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Is The Gig Economy Exploitative Capitalism, Or A Dreamer’s Playground?

Why Dolly Parton rewrote “9 to 5” for a Squarespace commercial. 

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Pawlytics Helps Homeless Pets

This founder says passion enabled the company to turn itself into a shelter software leader in 18 months. 

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2020 Survivor Story: The Pandemic Inspired An Alternative To Grubhub

Social media became an avenue for a new company to earn the trust of its community in Lawrence, Mass.

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Former Top Senate Staffer Launches Rural Chamber Of Commerce
Solo entrepreneurs, small to midsize businesses, trade associations and nonprofits in areas with populations of 50,000 or less can join.

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Democrats Focus On Passing Relief Bill After Trump’s Acquittal
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Black McDonald’s Franchise Owner Files Racial Discrimination Suit Against Fast-Food Giant
Former pro-baseball player Herb Washington, a franchisee based in Cleveland, alleges that the brand has forced Black owners to the least desirable locations.

Highlighting Notable Funding To Black Founders In 2020
CloudTrucks, Vericool and Forethought raised significant amounts of venture money. But the percentage that went to Black and African-American owned startups was still less than 1%.

Parler Interim CEO: Biden Welcome On the Platform
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As Shopify Continues To Boom, Amazon Acquires Selz
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Inspired by The Bachelor, This Fort Wayne Entrepreneur Is Creating Pandemic-Friendly ‘Popnics’
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The Weird And Wonderful Things Midwest Founders Do After They’ve Had A Big Exit
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Chicago Immigration Lawyers, Business Groups, Push For Biden Administration To Help Young Entrepreneurs
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Celebrated Black Chicago Entertainment and Motel Entrepreneur Herman Roberts Dies At 97
Sammy Davis, Dinah Washington, Billy Eckstine and Count Basie all played at the Roberts Show Club.

Former Bear Matt Forte’s Foundation Launching $3 Million Program To Help Black Entrepreneurs In Underserved Chicago Communities
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Is There Life After Death?
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Door Dash Small Business Grants
Deadline: February 17, 2021
Information available here.

$5,000 grants are available to restaurants in select cities in the U.S. and Canada to help them survive COVID-19, under DoorDash’s Main Street Strong Pledge.

L’Oreal USA Inclusive Beauty Grant
Deadline: February 17, 2021
Information available here

Black-owned businesses in all sectors of the beauty industry are eligible to apply for 30 grants of $10,000 each.

2021: The Economy, The Vaccine and The Future
February 17, 2021,  5 pm PST
Information available here

David Meline, CFO of Moderna, is among the guests at this discussion of the economy, public health and the life sciences.  

Grants for Startups: The Definitive Freelance and Startup Guide
Date: February 18, 2021
Location: Virtual
Information available here

Learn about grant funding for entrepreneurs, and how you can manage a freelance grants business from OpenGrants CEO Sedale Turbovsky. The event organizer is the Carlsen Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Sacramento State.

7th Annual Booth-Kellogg Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition Conference
Date: Feb. 16-19, 2021
Location: Virtual
Information available here

The Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition Group at Chicago Booth, the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Kellogg Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative are hosting this annual event bringing together entrepreneurs, investors, MBA students, faculty and others to network and share insights.

Values and Ventures Competition
Deadline: February 22, 2021
Information available here.

Texas Christian University’s Values and Ventures Competition, which takes place from April 16-17, invites undergraduates from around the world to pitch ideas for conscious capitalism ventures that make a profit while solving a problem. The grand prize is $100,000.

The New Journey of Black Entrepreneurship
February 23, 1-2 pm EST
Location: Virtual
Information available here

Alvin Singh, a successful online entrepreneur from Northwest Arkansas, is a program associate with the Startup Junkie Foundation, Kiva NWA Hub, which provides access to 0% microloans for disadvantaged borrowers from Northwest Arkansas.

8 Week Entrepreneur Training Program
Date: Next cohort starts February 23, 2021
Location: Virtual
Information available here

This curriculum is designed to empower aspiring entrepreneurs with the tools and skills to successfully navigate the path to small business ownership. The program is provided by Operation Hope and Shopify.

Diversity & Inclusion in Entrepreneurship
Date: February 24, 2021
Location: Virtual
Information available here

This summit will provide students at University of Texas at Austin and the larger community with insight on ways that entrepreneurs from underserved communities can successfully launch entrepreneurial ventures. The event is powered by the Texas McCombs Herb Kelleher Entrepreneurship Center and Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute.

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.

Sustainability Mena
Deadline: Applications close March 30, 2021
Location: Virtual
Information available here

Village Capital, with the support of the International Finance Corp., is launching an investment readiness program for Middle East, North Africa and Turkey-based startups tackling the region’s sustainability challenges. 

US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency Cares Act Grant Technical Assistance Program
End date: May 31, 2021
Information available here.

This program, facilitated through eight COVID-19 Technical Assistance Centers in major cities with large Hispanic and minority populations, will provide ongoing readiness and support to help the minority business community navigate the pandemic.

Small Business Expo
Dates: Year-round
Location: Live and virtual
Information available here

This series of 45 major trade shows has published its schedule for 2021. These B2B events—free to attend–include networking and workshops.


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.

Chandler Innovations
Deadline: Rolling
Location: Chandler, Arizona
Information available here.

Entrepreneurs who live or work in Chandler, Arizona, are eligible to apply for this business incubator. Business ideas must be tech-based.

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.