We Are All Entrepreneurs: Carl Schramm and Georgetown University Kick-Off DC Entrepreneurship Week

Our nation’s capital kicked off Global Entrepreneurship Week on Monday with the sound of a gong rung by student entrepreneurs at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. The event was the formal start to D.C. Entrepreneurship week.

“Unleashing Ideas,” hosted by the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative in conjunction with D.C. Entrepreneurship Week and Global Entrepreneurship Week, featured the inspiring stories of entrepreneurship and remarks from Startup America Partnership founding board member Carl Schramm

Jeff Reid, director of the entrepreneurial studies at Georgetown, opened the event with a panel discussion with three of Georgetown’s entrepreneurs in residence. These experienced entrepreneurs told their startup stories and offered advice to those just starting out. Tim Kennan, president of HPTi, stressed the importance of taking a business model into a space that doesn’t already have one. As the winner of the American Business Ethics Award last year, Kennan urged entrepreneurs to build ethics into the DNA of their companies.

The other two panelists joining Mr. Reid and Mr. Kennan were Alyssa Lovegrove of New Venture Mentors and Susan Wilson, most recently of FundHer. Speaking to the topic of capital, Ms. Lovegrove stressed the importance of opening yourself up to investors early on, suggesting her company could have grown even faster if they were not reluctant with accepting capital. Ms. Wilson stressed the importance of female entrepreneurs stepping up in the startup world, an issue very important to us here at the Startup America Partnership. During her comments, Ms. Wilson held up a $100 bill and said she would give it to the first person that reached the stage. After being surrounded by three young men, she pointed out that not one woman moved when she offered the free money. This is an analogy for the world of entrepreneurship, she said, and urged female entrepreneurs to get involved.

Following the panel discussion, Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray spoke about the many steps D.C. is taking to help and support entrepreneurs. Much like many of our startup regions across the country, Mayor Gray is working hard to provide the resources and expertise in the district that entrepreneurs need to be successful.

Closing the event and formally kicking off Global Entrepreneurship Week in D.C. was one of our founding board members, Carl Schramm. Mr. Schramm stressed the importance of startup firms and creating a climate for their success. He notes that all net new jobs in the last 20 years have come from firms younger than five years old. These new firms, he said, create new wealth, which increases the overall welfare of everyone in the country.

The kick-off event at Georgetown and the rest of the events in the 123 countries participating in global entrepreneurship week remind us of the importance of startup firms to the economy. Jobs are what we need, and startups create jobs. We urge you to participate in the week’s events and capture the entrepreneurial spirit. For those of you already in the game, make sure you sign up for the many great resources the Startup America Partnership is already providing to our firms.

As Carl Schramm said in his closing remarks channeling Muhammad Yunus: “We are all entrepreneurs. Only the lucky of us come to understand it.”