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Candace Fleming’s résumé boasts a double major in industrial engineering and English from Stanford, an M.B.A. from Harvard, a management position at Hewlett-Packard and experience as president of a small software company.
But when she was raising money for Crimson Hexagon, a start-up company she co-founded in 2007, she recalls one venture capitalist telling her that it didn’t matter that she didn’t have business cards, because all they would say was “Mom.”
Another potential backer, reports Claire Cain Miller in The New York Times, invited her for a weekend yachting excursion by showing her a picture of himself on the boat — without clothes. When a third financier discovered that her husband was also a biking enthusiast, she says, he spent more time asking if riding affected her husband’s reproductive capabilities than he did focusing on her business plan. Ultimately, none of the 30 venture firms she pitched financed her company. She finally raised $1.8 million in March 2008 from angel investors including Golden Seeds, a fund that emphasizes investing in start-ups led by women.
Not so fast, Martha Stewart.
OK, you're special. You are talented and one of the best at what you do. But that doesn't mean that you're equipped to run your own business--even one within a field or industry you've been working in or following for years.
To wit: 627,200 new businesses opened in the U.S. in 2008--the same year 595,600 businesses shuttered and 43,546 filed for bankruptcy, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Likewise, 30% of small businesses fail within the first two years and half close shop within five years, according to the SBA.
The fact of the matter is that far too many people launch their own companies for all the wrong reasons and without the tools it takes to succeed. Before handing in your notice and signing a lease on an office, it's imperative you take a hard look at yourself in the salaried eye and ask yourself a few critical questions that could mean the difference between a fulfilling life as your own boss and speed-dialing a bankruptcy lawyer.
Who is the real entrepreneur? What does it mean to be self-employed? Dane Stangler examines this question and what it means to be an entrepreneur during these tumultuous economic times.
At the University of Miami a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend an entrepreneurship class with roughly 40 students. Most of them were juniors and seniors, joined by a small number of law students. The course had so far covered the theoretical literature on entrepreneurship, but on this particular day all the students wanted to talk about was their own futures.
Some people are born rich, but it is the self-made billionaires who inspire people more than anybody else. While most entrepreneurs won’t end up in the 10-digit club, there are lessons to be taken from these elites.
With pink-slip taxes increasing, more small-business owners may be motivated to appeal claims for unemployment benefits filed by former employees who quit or were fired for cause—but such appeals can sometimes backfire.
U.S. employers are required to make regular tax contributions toward unemployment insurance. They're taxed at a rate that varies by state and the size of their payroll. That rate can increase as a business lays off more employees.
After the recent "48 Hour Launch" weekend that drew more than five dozen participants, eight new companies now dot the city's small-business landscape.
The third annual event, sponsored by LaunchMemphis, replaced the organization's former Startup Weekend program. Interest in the program easily surpassed previous incarnations, leaders said, and the number of viable companies was nearly triple that of last year.
Perhaps no other country celebrates innovation the way America does.
This passion for inventions started early in our history. Did you know that George Washington signed the First U.S. Patent Grant on July 31, 1790, and the patent examiner was none other than Thomas Jefferson? (Thank you, Google (GOOG)!) In America, we're reminded of the life-changing power of inventiveness every day. Some of the greatest inventors of yesterday spawned the greatest brands of today. What do the names Chrysler, Coleman, Goodyear (GT), Campbell (CPB), Colt, and Edison mean to you? Cars, tents, tires, soup, guns, and the electric lightbulb, of course.
One of our well-respected business bloggers, Scott Messinger, indicates in his articles that starting up a business is no child’s play. He mentioned that if you want to have more time with your family through your startup business, you should think again. From my experience, Scott’s advice is something that you should look up to.
I have spent the majority of my adult life investing my own and other people's money in entrepreneurs. That's why I know the U.S. has a serious problem on its hands.
Although the stock market has tentatively rebounded, funding for the one area in which America has a distinct competitive advantage--that is, new company formation--is in scary decline. That may be a familiar refrain by now, but that doesn't make the ramifications any less real. Or less dangerous.
OK, let me get this straight: The Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy reports that 27 million small businesses in the U.S. account for 50% of the Gross National Product and employ over 50% of the workforce, and Washington figures $30 billion in loan support and some tax credits will get things done.
What's that, $1,100 per company? Wow, where do we sign up!
Our fearful leaders gave $50 billion to General Motors, and $185 billion to AIG. According to the Congressional Budget Office publication, The Budget &amp; Economic Outlook: An Update August 2009, big business has been showered with more than $10 trillion (that's a "T") in funding and commitments, including: $1.3 trillion disbursed by the Federal Reserve, with another $2.8 trillion committed (including aid to AIG, Citigroup, Bank of America, Bear Stearns; $800 billion from the Treasury, with $3.6 trillion committed (including guarantees for Money Market Funds and TARP); and over $2.1 trillion committed by the FDIC (including increased depositor insurance and more Citigroup guarantees).
Um, does $30 billion to small business make a difference?
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