This is the big question for YOU. Are you REALLY in the Entrepreneur's Corner? Most of us would answer yes to this question, but look to see if your words are honestly consistent with your actions. The SBA estimates that 2 out of every 3 net jobs are created by small business. The term small-business is synonymous with entrepreneur. Ask yourself daily, "what have I done to help an Entrepreneur?" It's the bottom line question to build a better economy. Entrepreneurs have it hard enough at the beginning that often friends, family, investors and even the Media don't support or believe in their startup or the founders.
Ben Horowitz, a VC from A16Z, had a interview at TechCrunch discussing this and other insights about supporting Entrepreneurs. Horowitz discusses their Tech Culture Fund which bridges the gap between "Technology and Culture." The TCF is about culture leaders and disruptors. He also discusses about investing without biases. Biases in investing will stop you in investing in great founders and startups because you can't get past the culture, gender, race, stereotypes or they just don't look like you. Best quote in this article from Horowitz is that if "you can't get past your biases, you won't win in investing." Are you looking to win in investing? Or will you continue to follow the masses like sheep?
The best global example of a supporter of entrepreneurship is Masayoshi Son from Softbank. He has earned the moniker of the unicorn hunter of Japan. Before he invests, he looks into the eyes of the Entrepreneur without any bias. He has invested in global startups and companies such as Uber, WeWork, Wag, Flipkart, SoFi, and Doordash.
Entrepreneurs like Marc Benioff and Crazy Jack Ma have experienced bias and discrimination first-hand. Marc Benioff often tells the story of how he was turned down by every venture capitalist in Silicon Valley.
"I had to go hat in hand, like I was a high tech beggar, down to Silicon Valley to raise some money…And as I go from venture capitalist to venture capitalist to venture capitalist — and a lot of them are my friends, people I’ve gone to lunch with — and each and every one of them said no,” Benioff said. “Salesforce was never able to raise a single dollar from a venture capitalist,” he added.
He got the last laugh as he was able to raise $60 million from private investors. This included a $2 million dollar investment from Larry Ellison, his old boss at Oracle, which also became a direct competitor of Salesforce.com. In the end Benioff was laughing to the bank at venture capitalists because Salesforce is now a $10 billion dollar company. Jack Ma of Alibaba had a similar entrepreneurial story. He failed many exams at school and he couldn't even get a job at Kentucky Fried Chicken. Jack Ma was rejected from Harvard 10 times and Silicon Valley refused to fund Alibaba. His revolutionary ideas on the internet in China were thought to be so silly naysayers starting calling him Crazy Jack Ma. Crazy Jack Ma recently announced his retirement from Alibaba in 2019 to return to his passion of teaching and philanthropy. Ma's net worth, according to Bloomberg's Billionaire Index, is around $40 billion.
We would like to end this with some wisdom from Marc Benioff, "When you start something like Salesforce, you want to surround yourself with people who do believe in you, who do believe you’re going to be successful because you’re going to have a whole bunch of people who are going to tell you that you’re not."
Are you REALLY in the Entrepreneur's Corner? What have you done in actions that prove this support of entrepreneurship and startups? Entrepreneurs deserve a lot better as builders of the global economy. At FREEAG8, we are in the Entrepreneur's corner and we are big supporters of the community of startups. Let us know your thoughts or feedback in the comments below or in our forum.
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