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A Call To Action: Invest in Entrepreneurs Changing the World

By: C’pher Gresham, CEO of SEED SPOT

To create a more prosperous world with activated entrepreneurs, Global Entrepreneurship Week 2019 (GEW) kicked off on Monday, November 18th. There are events launching globally to highlight the role of entrepreneurs creating more vibrant communities and provide the founders with support and resources to further grow.

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At SEED SPOT, GEW is about celebrating the big dreamers, impact-driven entrepreneurs around the world sparking positive social and environmental change. Throughout the year we celebrate entrepreneurs, yet this week we hosted our Impact Entrepreneur Meet-Up in Phoenix and DC providing free resources to early-stage entrepreneurs to learn how to start and grow their ventures.

IMPROVING THE HUMAN CONDITION IS A WORLDWIDE CHALLENGE

The world continues to be plagued by large-scale problems affecting billions of people in communities around the world.

  • By the year 2020, the world will need nearly 500 million new jobs to meet the demands of new generations joining the workforce (World Economic Forum).
  • By 2050, there will be over nine billion people to feed on earth – a demand 60 percent greater than it is today (World Resources Institute).
  • By 2050, there will be two billion people over 60 straining our global health system to provide equitable, consistent, and reliable care to vulnerable populations (World Economic Forum).
  • According to the Global Gender Gap Report, it will take the world until 2133 to fully close the gender economic parity gap at the current rate of change (World Economic Forum).
  • The gap between rich and poor is at its highest level in decades. There remain pervasive inequities in access to education, health care, and finance (International Monetary Fund).
  • Due to human activity, greenhouse gases are at their highest level in 800,000 years and the earth has warmed nearly 1°C over the past 50 years (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).
  • Two billion people worldwide, including 200 million small and medium-sized enterprises, do not have access to high-quality, affordable financial services (World Economic Forum).

The challenges we face together are real, but human ingenuity through entrepreneurship will overcome them. 

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ENTREPRENEURS ARE THE WORLD’S PROBLEM SOLVERS

We need innovators ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work actively solving challenges in spite of naysayers, uncertainty, and obstacles that may stand in their way.

We need entrepreneurs like Connie Tommerdahl and Carol Hirschmugl from SafeLi Materials, LLC who are creating a more efficient lithium-ion battery that will power a cleaner future. We need entrepreneurs like Mike Olsen, the co-founder of Proctorio, who is making education more accessible through an online learning integrity platform. We need entrepreneurs like Dr. Lisa FitzPatrick, founder of Grapevine Health, who is empowering community-based support and digital communication to improve health literacy and health care engagement in at-risk communities.

Solving climate change, pay inequities, or equitable access to healthcare will not come from a single company, nonprofit, new technology, or government program. We need thousands of entrepreneurs solving the world’s most pressing challenges.

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BUT WE NEED THOSE ENTREPRENEURS EVERYWHERE

Despite the need for an uprising of diverse, impact-driven entrepreneurs, barriers to access still exist, especially for those outside of Silicon Valley, New York City, or Boston.

  • At least 81percent of entrepreneurs cannot access a bank loan or venture capital (Kauffman).
  • Between 2007 and 2012, less than one percent of venture capital in the US went to African-American or Latino founders (CNN).
  • In 2018, less than three percent of venture capital in the US went to women founders (Fortune).
  • Only 30 percent of the $99 billion in venture capital invested in 2018 landed outside of the metro areas of San Francisco, San Jose, New York, and Boston (Bloomberg).
  • About 25 percent of Americans have thought about but decided against starting a business because of a lack of support (Gallup).
  • The average accelerator has an acceptance rate of 3.8 percent, being more exclusive than all Ivy League schools (GAN).

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These barriers exist when there is overwhelming proof that diverse entrepreneurial teams provide faster exits and create more profitable companies. In the recent report “All In: Women in the VC Ecosystem” released by Pitchbook, companies with at least one female founder are currently exiting a whole year sooner than the typical startup founded entirely by men: a median of 6.4 years vs. 7.4 years. In addition, a study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group found that “increasing the diversity of leadership teams leads to more and better innovation and improved financial performance.” The study found that companies with diverse management teams reported 19 percent higher revenue than teams with below-average leadership diversity.

It’s time to level the playing field.

Come join us. 

Register for a program near you today.

Donate to empower more entrepreneurs.

Bianca Buliga

Download SEED SPOT’s 2017 Impact Report