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8 posts tagged Entrepreneurship

6 family-friendly tips for successful entrepreneurship

Thank heaven for entrepreneurs. Unless you are one of the one-in-three who work for the government, if you have a job, you have an entrepreneur to thank. Someone back in time launched that business and created the job that feeds your family. If you’d like to be an entrepreneur, the following tips will help you succeed at launching your own business while you maintain a happy and healthy home environment.

  1. Remember it will be tough.Entrepreneurship is not for the weak. It is going to be tough. A lot tougher than you think. Really.
  2. Talk about it.Sit down with your spouse and talk about the implications of your plan. Make sure that your spouse is 100 percent behind you. It may take time, but this is the most critical step for maintaining a happy home with an entrepreneur in it. It may also be more important than you think for the success of the business. Because an entrepreneur has to invest so many hours into ramping up the business, and may not add a dime to the family wallet for months, spousal support can make or break the dream. Many entrepreneurs have said their spouses were key to their success.

This article originally appeared at  Click here to read the rest.

Our space for your story

Guest post from Chelsea Bakewell of Red Door Interactive.

You’ve got a great idea, you’re working from your basement or friend’s house and you’re on that 5th cup of coffee. You’re working for a startup and you’re doing whatever it takes to get your feet off the ground. We can relate. Starting as a small company ourselves, Red Door Interactive has been through the necessary hurdles that small businesses must overcome in order to grow and flourish.  Having recently moved into bigger San Diego & Denver office spaces to enhance employee’s work capabilities, we understand that having a place of work to create and collaborate is crucial. Our Denver office currently has some space to spare, and we want to fill it with a promising startup that can take advantage of our open, creative environment.  And so, in the spirit of Red Door’s previous philanthropic initiatives, we have set out to give back to the community that has helped us get to where we are by giving a lucky startup rent free office space for 6 months.

The “Win Free Office Space in Downtown Denver” contest invites Denver startups, four person or less, to enter a short video via our Facebook tab. The easily accessible online platform allows small companies to share their stories through an online gallery that will be displayed throughout the contest. The nature of contest was designed to encourage friends and supporters to get involved and vote for their favorite startup.  In this way, the social impact of the contest will be to increase awareness of startups that enter and we are excited to serve as a platform for this initial exposure.

As always, it is important for us to be inspired and we encourage our entrants to share their stories based on several different criteria, but most importantly, their core values. Our core values, included but certainly not limited to are inspire, share, evolve, exceed and be 100% Jerk Free. After reviewing the videos, finalist will have the opportunity to interview with current Red Door employees, who will examine the startup’s mission, culture and values to determine if the company is a fit.  The winning company will have the chance to work in an open creative environment alongside a company that has been named an Ad Age “Best Place to Work”  in 2010 & 2012.   “We’ve got a great group of people here that inspire each other every day and contribute to our growth, but in the meantime, it was important to us to lend a hand to those just starting out.  We’ve got a great space, and if some extra room will help a promising young company get started on the right foot, then there’s no better way we could utilize it.  We’re looking forward to see what the entrepreneurial community in Denver has to offer! ”

Opening our doors to give a deserving startup a home to build their business is right up our alley and we are bustling with excitement to meet our entrepreneurial neighbors in Denver. If you’d like to get involved please spread the word by sharing the contest details here If you have any questions about Red Door Interactive please feel free to contact me, Chelsea Bakewell, at or tweet at us @red door.

The Nature Conservancy CEO On Entrepreneurship For The Environment

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

When Mark Tercek took the reigns as CEO of The Nature Conservancy in 2008 he brought a new perspective. As a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs, Tercek’s career evolved into a focus on sustainability, recognizing the vast economic value of nature and the ability of business to actually contribute profitably to the health of the planet.

In Tercek’s book, Nature’s Fortune, How Business and Society Thrive in Nature, he explains how his experiences at Goldman Sachs and at TNC prove that protecting the environment makes economic sense. For example, he called attention to a shift in attitude at CocaCola, noting that in 2002 water was not listed as an important input in its annual report and by 2012, water had become a key focus. CocaCola has adopted a policy of “replenishment,” with the goal of creating ecological means of returning as much water to the environment as the company uses. Not to be outdone, Pepsi has promised to become “water positive.” Tercek explains the economics that have driven the shift and how preserving and restoring the natural environment can be much more affordable than “gray infrastructure,” man-made remedies like levies, dikes and sea walls.

On Monday, February 3, 2014 at 3:00 Eastern, Tercek will join me for a live discussion about the role of business and entrepreneurs–and others–in the effort to protect the environment and turn back climate change.


Mark Tercek, CEO of the Nature Conservancy (Photo credit: Fortune Live Media)

Tune in here and listen while you work.

According to a Nature Conservancy Magazine article about Tercek, first sought to leave Goldman Sachs in 2005 to pursue work focused on the environment, but Chairman Henry Paulson convinced him to stay by inviting him to form a new group, the Goldman Sachs’ Environmental Strategy Group, where he could work on his passion. When the opportunity came up, however, to head The Nature Conservancy in 2008, he jumped at the chance.

Tercek attributes his desire to work for the preservation of the environment to his role as a parent. “I want to be able to look my kids in the eye,” he says, “and tell them I did all I could to leave the world a better place.”

Before beginning his 24 years at Goldman, Tercek completed an MBA at Harvard after earning a BA at Williams College.

This interview is part of a series that will examine what can be accomplished in the fight to solve the world’s biggest challenges within the next thirty years. The solution to every big problem also presents opportunities entrepreneurs will exploit to change the world. From this series of interviews, a book, working title: Thirty Years to Peace, will emerge.


Please help me continue this conversation below, on Twitter or on my personal website.

MWCN Executive Director, Cheri Farnsworth, Explains Mission

The MountainWest Capital Network is a Utah-based organization that seeks to expand capital markets for growing businesses in the state.

On Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 11:00 AM, MWCN Executive Director Cheri Farnsworth with join me to talk about the organization’s mission and upcoming events.


Tune in and listen while you work.

MWCN will recognize Tom Dickson, founder and CEO of Blendtec as its 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year. The celebration will be held on Thursday, February 20, 2014. Register here.

MWCN is holding its first ever Business Boot Camp, an intensive, all-day training event with some of the most experienced business leaders and thought leaders in Utah. (I’ve been invited to provide an intensive 30 minute session on equity crowdfunding to kick off the day. The event will be held Thursday, March 27, 2024. Register here.

The Women of Crowdfunding

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

While tech entrepreneurship continues to be dominated by men (see Cheryl Snapp Conner’s piece), women appear to be playing a larger role in the crowdfunding ecosystem.

Note that Sally Outlaw, included in this article, is one of my clients.

There is a growing list of influential women leading the crowdfunding industry. Sara Hanks, CEO of CrowdCheck, Jilliene Helman, CEO of Realty Mogul, Jenny Kassan, CEO of Cutting Edge Capital, Lesley Mansford, CEO of Razoo, Sally Outlaw, CEO of Peerbackers, Danae Ringelmann, Co-founder of Indiegogo, Joy Schoffler, CEO of Leverage PR, and Joanna Schwartz, CEO of EarlyShares will all join me for a live discussion about the crowdfunding industry.

The live discussion will occur at 2:00 PM Eastern on May 14, 2014. Tune in here then to watch the discussion.


Hanks’ bio:

Sara Hanks, co-founder and CEO of CrowdCheck, is an attorney with over 30 years of experience in the corporate and securities field. Sara’s most recent position was General Counsel of the Congressional Oversight Panel, the overseer of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Prior to that, Sara spent many years as a partner of Clifford Chance, one of the world’s largest law firms. Sara began her career in London and later joined the Securities and Exchange Commission and as Chief of the Office of International Corporate Finance led the team drafting regulations that put into place a new generation of rules governing the capital-raising process.

Sara received her law degree from Oxford University and is a member of the New York and DC bars and a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales.

Helman’s bio:

Jilliene Helman is the Founder and CEO of Realty Mogul is crowdfunding for real estate, the largest online marketplace for investors to pool money and buy shares of pre-vetted real estate investments.

Jilliene is responsible for overseeing the strategic direction and operation of the business.

Previously Jilliene was a Vice President at Union Bank, where the majority of her time was spent in Private Wealth Management working with the broker-dealer, registered investment advisor, real estate lenders and wealth planners. Jilliene is a Certified Wealth Strategist, holds Series 7 and Series 63 securities licenses and earned a degree in Business Administration from Georgetown University. She has been featured in countless publications including Forbes, Entrepreneur, NYT and Bloomberg , and is a frequent speaker on the subjects of crowdfunding, real estate finance and entrepreneurship.

Kassan’s bio:

Jenny has over eighteen years of experience as an attorney for and creator of social enterprises. She is the CEO of Cutting Edge Capital, a consulting firm that helps social ventures raise capital in alignment with their goals and values. Jenny is also an attorney at Katovich & Kassan Law Group, a law firm that serves social enterprise. Her legal practice areas include small business start-up and financing, securities regulation, nonprofit law, and cooperatives.

Jenny earned a masters degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley and earned her J.D. from Yale Law School. She worked for eleven years at the Unity Council, a nonprofit community development corporation in Oakland, where she served as staff attorney and managed community economic development projects including the formation and management of several social ventures designed to employ and create business ownership opportunities for low-income community residents.

Jenny is the President of Community Ventures, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the economic and social development of communities. She also co-founded the Sustainable Economies Law Center, a nonprofit that provides legal information to support sustainable economies. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Post Carbon Institute.

Mansford’s bio:

Lesley Mansford is the CEO of Razoo, a leading crowdfunding platform for causes, with over $220M raised for nonprofits. Mansford is a seasoned CEO, marketer and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in interactive entertainment with companies like Electronic Arts. She was co-founder and COO of, the largest online casual games community acquired by EA in 2001. In the same year she received the Superstar award from Ad Age. She speaks regularly on the power of online to democratize philanthropy. She is a powerful advocate around issues like women’s entrepreneurship and child sex trafficking in the US. Her board positions have included The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, The Leadership Institute for the Ecology and the Economy and Women’s Initiative for Self Employment.

Outlaw’s bio:

As co-founder and CEO of, Sally has helped thousands of entrepreneurs reach their crowdfunding goals. Sally is a seasoned entrepreneur having run her own businesses for the last twenty five years. Her media and business ventures took her across the globe – including ten years of conducting business in Russia. Sally is a speaker on the topic of small business financing at various universities, business incubators, and entrepreneurial events and has been a repeated source on the topic of crowdfunding for national media outlets. Her book, “Cash from the Crowd” on how to successfully crowdfund, was published fall 2013 by Entrepreneur Press.

Ringelmann’s bio:

Danae Ringelmann co-founded Indiegogo in 2008 with a mission to democratize fundraising and has since helped to propel the company into the world’s largest crowdfunding platform. Today, as Indiegogo’s Chief Development Officer, Danae is focused on driving total customer satisfaction and steering the company’s employee culture and value initiatives.

Prior to Indiegogo, Danae was a securities analyst at Cowen & Co. where she covered publicly traded entertainment companies including Pixar, Lionsgate, Disney and Electronic Arts. Danae also focused on cable network, NFL, newspaper and hedge fund clientele while at JPMorgan’s Investment Bank and Private Bank.

Danae was listed on Fast Company’s “Top 50 Women Innovators in Technology” in 2011 and was named one of Fortune’s “40 Under 40″ in September 2013. Danae frequently speaks at conferences around the world, including TEDx, Le Web and CeBIT. Danae also testified before the United States House Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations on “Financing America’s Small Businesses: Innovative Ideas for Raising Capital” in June 2013.

Danae is a CFA charterholder and holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. Danae graduated with a B.A. in Humanities from UNC-Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead Scholar and varsity rower. She currently resides in San Francisco.

Schoffler’s bio:

Joy Schoffler, Principal of Leverage PR, is a nationally recognized author and speaker, overseeing day-to-day operations and directing strategy for all of Leverage’s public relations accounts.

Prior to launching Leverage PR, Joy consulted and worked with a number of growth-phase firms, including serving as Director of Acquisitions for the two-time Inc. Award-winning investment firm, The PPA Group. Companies Joy has worked with have been acquired, raised large amounts of capital, secured Fortune 500 accounts (from startup phase) and experienced tremendous growth through creative messaging and dynamic media strategies.

Joy has shared her knowledge in several outlets, including:, Social Media Monthly,, The Glass Heel and MarketingProfs. She has also been a featured speaker for a number of events and conferences, such as Crowdfunding BootCamp, Startup America, Kingonomics, SV Crowdfund, Execsense, SXSW and the Crowdfunding Professional Association’s annual conference. She has additionally done behind-the-scenes work for high-profile events: Crowdfund Texas, The Crowdfunding BootCamp and a crowdfunding summit in Washington D.C. titled “The State of Equity-Based Crowdfunding,” which included a press conference held at the National Press Club, a luncheon on Capitol Hill, a White House meeting and a meeting with SEC officials responsible for Titles II & III of the JOBS Act.

In 2014, Joy’s efforts were truly recognized, as she became a Stiletto Woman in Business Awards Finalist, an Austin Under 40 Finalist and won the Women Communicators of Austin Outstanding Austin Communicator Award.

Outside of the private sector, Joy served as a Finance Officer for six years in the U.S. Army Reserves and three years as a Public Relations Officer for the Texas State Guard. Her service included a year on active duty for Operation Iraqi Freedom, where she led a 16-man team of finance soldiers and interned at the Pentagon. Joy sits on the board for Athletes for Change – an organization of NFL players dedicated to helping foster kids –the Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CfIRA) – the main lobbying organization for the crowdfunding industry that works directly with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), to help establish industry standards and best practices.

Schwartz’s bio:

Joanna Schwartz is an accomplished senior executive and entrepreneur with 18 years of experience founding and leading financial services, technology, consumer product, and e-commerce businesses. Joanna is CEO of EarlyShares, a leading funding platform that connects smart investors with unique opportunities. By enabling individuals and companies to leverage the opportunities created by the JOBS Act, EarlyShares helps small investments ignite big ideas. Prior to joining EarlyShares, Joanna served as Managing Director of small-balance commercial lender Silver Hill Financial, leading the company from inception to over $1 billion in annual volume.


College Kids, I’m Talking to You

This is a guest post from Tommy who is a rising junior at the University of Notre Dame where he studies Finance, Entrepreneurship, and Education, Schooling and Society (ESS). He is co-founder and co-president of Unleashed, Notre Dame’s impact investing initiative.


Interest around impact investing is beginning to percolate from all corners of the world. Fascinated with how to use investment capital to address environmental and social issues, the number of players entering the impact investing space is rapidly increasing. The momentum behind this emerging market is coming at a critical point. Members of the Rockefeller Foundation point out, “In a world where government resources and charitable donations are insufficient to address the world’s social problems, impact investing offers a new alternative for channeling large-scale private capital for social benefit. “ But there remain many obstacles to overcome before impact investing can be institutionalized, allowing common investors to participate in this market. Many parties, including social entrepreneurs, researchers, and politicians, are working through these issues. Most recently, colleges are finding ways to get involved.

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) and J.P. Morgan released a study earlier this year showing that impact investors are worried there is too much capital being deployed in this field and not a sufficient number of quality investments. In addition to business plan competitions and grants for budding social enterprises, schools are finding other ways to take promising ideas and turn them into investable products. Harvard recently opened a Social Impact Bond Lab that is working with state governments around the country to find ways to utilize these new innovative financial tools in a way that will tackle issues ranging from homelessness and early childhood education to diabetes and malaria. Social impact bonds (SIBs) are among the most promising developments in this field, garnering the attention of not only social entrepreneurs and impact investors, but also Wall Street banks and politicians. Goldman Sachs, for example, has invested in an SIB each of the last three years. President Obama, for the first time in U.S. history, included $300 million in our 2014 federal budget to incentivize the use of these “bonds” that bring a private sector mentality to public affairs. SIBs encourage investment in cost-saving preventative services and bring experimental creativity to addressing social ills, something governments with increasingly tight budgets are struggling with.

In addition to Harvard, Northwestern is another university that has joined the cause to help supply impact investors with potential investments. Their own Kellogg Business School has partnered with INSEAD Business School and Morgan Stanley to create “The Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge,” a pitch competition for graduate students with the goal of developing institutional-quality investment vehicles. Its goal is to “harness the power of capital markets and student creativity to create positive impact in a world of perpetual resource scarcity and continued population growth.” With more impact investors entering the space every day, a sufficient supply of quality investments will be necessary for the success of the field as a whole.

Despite a perceived lack of investment opportunities, social entrepreneurs are claiming that they are being “starved of capital.” Responding to these complaints are colleges entering the market from the buy-side. Columbia, the University of Michigan, and the University of Utah are just a few schools that are experimenting with student-run funds dedicated to impact investing. Thus far, the University of Utah has the biggest student-run fund, measuring up at $15 million. With two full- time fund managers and their partnership with Mission Markets, a NYC-based impact investing platform, undergraduate students volunteer their time to run this for-profit fund. Differences in the way these funds are structured prove there is room for creativity. Whereas the University of Utah runs a for-profit fund that targets market-rates of return, Columbia’s 118 Capital is set up as a non-profit that provides “loans and capital raising support to social enterprises in need of early- stage, risk tolerant capital.” Another varying factor in these different student-run funds is the level of involvement from undergraduates versus that of graduate students. Although graduate students have more real-life experience and knowhow, undergraduates have more free time and less turnover. Involvement from both seems to be the optimal mix.

As more players enter the market, issues and questions that need answering are becoming evident. How to structure deals with social entrepreneurs with novel business structures, how to compensate fund managers of impact investing funds who are pursuing double- and triple-bottom line investments, and how to measure social benefit of these investments are just a few of the major questions that still remain largely unanswered. Other universities are focusing on research to answer some of these questions, most notably, Stanford, Duke, and the University of Pennsylvania. Stanford’s Social Innovation Review has published countless magazines, blog posts, and related content in fields like impact investing and social entrepreneurship. Duke, a long time leader in social entrepreneurship, published their two-year research project in union with InSight at Pacific Community Ventures and ImpactAssets in a report called, Impact Investing 2.0: The Way Forward. In addition to this report, they are continuing to do research, recently looking into how to involve university endowments in impact investing. The University of Pennsylvania is also deeply involved in the space in several ways, recently publishing an article, “De-Risking Impact Investments.” The mitigation of risk for impact investments is crucial for those who hope to involve fund/endowment managers, who have fiduciary duties to provide the greatest return at the lowest risk, in a major way.

Characteristic of any young market, there exists a disconnect between impact investors and the investments they are seeking, evident from arguments over whether there is too much or too little money in the field. Impact investments are currently difficult to find and, when found, difficult to analyze using traditional methods because of their unique structures. An initiative hoping to increase deal flow and capital in the impact investing space was started by undergraduates at the University of Notre Dame. Notre Dame’s impact investing initiative, Unleashed, is partnering with wealth management firms, connecting the increasing numbers of affluent individuals interested in this space with potential investments. To accomplish this objective, Unleashed is hosting an internal case competition to find various impact investments, with each team specializing in different areas. Upon completion, the wealth management firms will be provided with a video of the presentations along with written analyses of the proposed investments and other helpful assistance. Although the group’s ultimate goal is to establish a fund, they are starting by helping to increase deal flow and provide impact investments with exposure to interested parties.

Historically, “doing well” and “doing good” existed in bifurcated worlds. But things are changing. No longer must we accept the idea that our investments and charitable activities work at cross-purposes. Pope Francis praised these innovative forms of intervention that “acknowledge the ultimate connection between profit and solidarity.” Impact investing is gaining incredible momentum. It is bringing together groups that have historically had minimal overlap. Wall Street bankers and philanthropists are forming partnerships that contradict the perception that they must exist in disparate worlds. We are realizing, increasingly so, how powerful involving the private sector is when markets are put to work in the fight against our world’s most pressing and entrenched social issues. Despite its relative complexity, the aforementioned initiatives show the potential for students to be involved in meaningful and significant ways. We are entering unchartered territories, allowing room for involvement from people with little to no prior experience. What is required is a desire to inspire change in a world that desperately needs it. Instead of watching from the sidelines, I challenge you to join in.

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to Devin’s content here.


MWCN To Recognize Utah’s Fastest Growing Companies

For the past 20 years, the MountainWest Capital Network has been recognizing the fastest growing companies in Utah as the Utah 100. There is still time for Utah companies to apply to recognition before the final dealine on July 14, 2014.

The MWCN Utah 100 event is one of the most anticipated business functions of the year, with many of Utah’s most prominent entrepreneurs and executives. The event will be held on Tuesday, October 21, 2014.

On Thursday, July 3, 2014 at 9:00 AM Mountain Time, Rob Brough, Executive Vice President of Zions Bank and Chair of the 2014 MWCN Utah 100 program, will join me for a live discussion about the application process and the event. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes

More about Zions Bank:

Zions Bank is a subsidiary of Zions Bancorporation that operates more than 500 offices and 600 ATMs in 10 Western states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington. As a full-service bank, Zions offers commercial, installment and mortgage loans; trust services; foreign banking services; electronic and online banking services; automatic deposit and nationwide banking and transfer services; as well as the more familiar checking and savings programs.

More about the MountainWest Capital Network:

The MountainWest Capital Network is Utah’s first and largest business networking organization devoted to supporting entrepreneurial success through:

  • fostering the dynamic flow of information about capital formation and distribution,
  • educating and mentoring excellence, and
  • recognizing and rewarding performance
  • networking activities which promote synergistic relationships.

We accomplish this through signature activities and events, such as the Utah 100, real-time Deal Flow reporting and recognition, MWCN Entrepreneur of the Year event honoring Utah’s uber-entrepreneurs, and presentations by industry experts.

Rob’s bio:

Rob Brough is the executive vice president of Marketing and Communications for Zions Bank. A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Rob joined Zions Bank in February of 1997 as a public relations representative. In his current position, he is responsible for overseeing the communications, public relations, advertising and community relations activities for the Bank, its 135 Financial Centersthroughout Utah and Idaho and its various subsidiaries.

Prior to joining Zions Bank, Brough spent two years with Salt Lake City-based Bremer Public Relations. He received a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Brigham Young University and an MBA from the University of Utah.

In addition to his responsibilities at Zions Bank, Brough is also active in community affairs. He currently serves as chair of the Hale Centre Theatre Board of Trustees. He also serves as a member of the Road Home Board of Trustees, the Utah Junior Golf Association Board of Trustees, the BYU Athletics Advisory Council, the United Way of Salt Lake Young Leaders Steering Committee, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Utah Board of Directors, and the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Intermountain Area Board of Trustees.

He and his wife Holly and their three children live in Salt Lake City.

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to Devin’s content here.

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