Growthink Blog

Obama Stimulus Package Stimulates Renewable Energies Across the Nation


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While you probably have heard about the Stimulus Package and President Barack Obama’s push toward increased usage of renewable energies, you may not be aware of how this initiative can help your business and where the money is in fact going. The following information will explore the specific allocations of the Energy Stimulus and how you, as a business or as a consumer, can take advantage of this unique opportunity.

One of the most significant components of the $787.2 billion stimulus package signed into effect by President Obama in February 2009 is the initiative to spur development of “Clean, Efficient, American Energy”.  Of the total sum, more than $30 billion will be allocated to transforming the nation’s energy transmission, distribution, and production systems by improving grid design and investing in renewable energy and another $5 billion will be spent on home weatherization. The energy component of the initiative is aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on fossil fuels, spurring innovation, and creating jobs nationwide.

The following outlines the specific initiatives the energy stimulus money will be dispersed to:

  • Improvement of Electricity Grid Design - $11 billion to build new power lines and deliver renewable energy
  • Grants for Local Governments - $6.3 billion to state and local governments to reduce carbon emissions in their localities
  • Renewable Energy Loans - $6 billion for funding renewable energy projects
  • Home Weatherization – Weatherization is the process of protecting a structure’s interior from the exterior elements and improving interior energy consumption efficiency through highly effective insulation. The government has allotted $5 billion to lower income housing
  • Eco-Friendly Government Buildings - $4.5 billion to make government buildings more energy efficient
  • Fossil Energy Cleanup - $3.4 billion for carbon capture technology development
  • Green Research – $2.5 billion in grants for universities, companies, and national laboratories that will demonstrate advancements in technology to foster energy independence
  • Advanced Battery Grants - $2 billion to spur development of advanced vehicle and other battery systems
  • Green Job Training - $500 million to train workers in the green energy sector
  • Electric Transportation - $400 million in grants to develop electric vehicles
  • Smart Appliances - $300 million in customer rebates for the purchase of energy efficient appliances
  • Federal Vehicles - $300 million to replace or retrofit government vehicles to use renewable energies
  • Department of Defense - $300 million to develop more energy efficient military equipment and bases
  • Local Transportation - $300 million to local governments to purchase buses and trucks that use alternative fuels, and $300 million to replace or retrofit vehicles that use diesel fuels
  • Energy Efficient Housing - $250 million to increase energy efficiency in homes, particularly low-income housing

Historically, companies have been reluctant to invest in renewable and clean energy technologies, because they require tremendous economies of scale to be profitable. Since these systems require large capital outlays upfront, it takes a long time to see return on investment. The Stimulus Package aims to combat these hesitations toward switching to renewable energy systems. The initiative will benefit various members of the energy sector from large utility companies upgrading energy grids to small businesses installing solar panels. It also benefits end consumers striving to make their homes more energy efficient through tax breaks and government subsidies.

Federal Involvement will Spur Investment, Growth, and Job Creation

The influence of government grants, loans, and tax breaks, will help encourage progress for both the supply and demand side of this sector. On the supply side, the government will provide research grants and funds for investing in promising existing and new technologies. On the demand side, the Stimulus Package will help companies and homeowners purchase new green energy systems by making them more affordable. The Stimulus Package will also create thousands of new jobs across the nation fulfilling these initiatives, helping to fuel unemployment and the overall status of the economy. According to Nancy Pelosi, investment in the green sector will create close to 500,000 jobs in 2009, 67,000 of which will be in the solar and wind power installation sector. Ultimately, the energy portion of the stimulus package will reduce American reliance on foreign nations for fossil fuels, generate domestic jobs, and promote innovation and adoption of new renewable energy technologies nationwide.

Access to the Allotted Funds

Whereas other areas of the stimulus package will be distributed through company applications and competitions to receive the funds, the money attributed to the energy sector will be primarily dispersed through tax credits and purchase incentives. For example, within solar and wind energy, the government is now offering a 30% tax credit to offset the cost of installing a solar energy system or wind farm, whereas previously the tax credits had a cap of $2,000 and $4,000, respectively. Some additional credits include up to $7,500 for buying a plug-in hybrid electric car or a 50% tax credit for gas stations or other businesses that install alternative fueling pumps. For more information on the specific types of grants or tax credits offered, please find more information at the following website: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/obama-signs-stimulus-package-5736.html.

So What Does This Mean for You?

Energy Companies

If you are involved in the clean energy sector, Growthink recommends additional research into the specific provisions of the stimulus to see if your business will qualify for federal subsidies or research grants. Additionally, Growthink suggests putting together a strong marketing campaign that highlights government support and tax credits for purchasing your products. This will educate the many unaware businesses and consumers that believe switching to alternative energies is outside of their affordability. Additionally, it is a wonderful way to draw positive publicity for your business. Growthink is happy to provide you with complimentary feedback on your current marketing program. We can also assist you by utilizing our expert group of marketing professionals to work with you on creating a Marketing Plan to target your customers in the most effective way possible.

Contracting, Construction, Eco-Friendly Transportation, and Electrical Infrastructure Companies

If you own a contracting, construction, eco-friendly transportation, or electrical infrastructure company, Growthink recommends seeking additional information on how you may bid for funds allocated to electricity grid design, weatherization, environmentally friendly transportation development, energy efficient housing, and building renovations. Growthink can help you with conducting this research and help articulate how your business is the most suited to perform the specified work or receive a government grant.

Consumers

As a consumer, you can reap the benefits of the energy sector stimulus by utilizing the tax incentives to switch to renewable energy systems, such as installation of a solar or wind energy system in your home. The government is also offering customer rebates for those who purchase energy efficient appliances for their homes.

The Obama Stimulus Plan is an unprecedented program that has created unique opportunities for tremendous innovation and growth within energy efficiency. Please contact Growthink for more information on how we can help you position your company to benefit from the billions of dollars allocated to this sector and within your reach.


The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009


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This is the first article in our “Bottom Line” series focused on the $787 billion plan, where we analyze the spending bill's significance as a stimulus for U.S. entrepreneurs and emerging businesses.

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The figures are mind boggling.  A few billion dollars there, $50 billion there.  And how about the $165 million from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) that made its way to the executives of bailed-out AIG in the form of bonuses?  The unprecedented amount of public funds being spent to save and spur the economy through recent programs certainly includes a bunch of life vests for those failed companies that are “too big to fail,” but what about for the Entrepreneurial Economy?  


The American Entrepreneurial Economy includes 550,000 new businesses started every month.  It includes the emerging market:  the 2.2 million firms in the US with between 5 and 100 employees.   These are almost all private companies and most are less than 15 years old.   According to the US Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses (those with fewer than 500 employees) make up 99.7% of all US businesses, account for 50 percent of the gross national product and create between 60 and 80% of the net new jobs each year.  Entrepreneurs are confident – often stubborn – risk takers who take on personal debt so they can follow their dreams of launching new businesses.  They collectively make up the American business engine that largely drives innovation, invents new products, and creates new jobs.   

We at Growthink work with these companies and business owners everyday and have assisted almost 2,000 in the past 10 years.  Due to their impact on the US economy, we sure expect to see incentives for entrepreneurial companies in the stimulus plan, in addition to the $200 billion doled out to some of the largest financial institutions in the US. As a country, we don’t need to “bail out” emerging businesses in the sectors that will drive the economy – young firms that are working to improve healthcare, producing energy efficient products and developing environmentally-friendly pesticides – we need to spur them on.

We are following the distribution of stimulus funding closely.  This means we’ve had to spend countless hours trying to figure out what’s in the plan and who’s getting what – the plan is about eight inches thick and leaves most of the funding details to the various governmental agencies that oversee specific sectors.  It’s been no easy task.  Just because the federal government is giving away an unprecedented amount of money in a record amount of time to save the economy doesn’t mean that it’s not being given away by the same bureaucratic system that existed before the stimulus plan.

In our “Bottom Line” series on the stimulus plan, we’ll focus on just that:  What’s the plan's bottom line for the Entrepreneurial Economy?  During the Series, we’ll provide concise descriptions of the business opportunities in various sectors and provide insight into how to receive funding.   We’ll also provide honest feedback on the results of the program from the perspective of the entrepreneurial community.  

So far, we’ve come across reasons to be optimistic.  The plan includes programs for entrepreneurial sectors and includes promising opportunities for innovative, growth-oriented firms, such as:

  • More than $60 billion dollars in funding, grants and tax credits to promote energy efficient and renewable energy programs and products;
  • $7 billion to extend broadband services to underserved communities;
  • A focus on alternative sources of energy;
  • Almost $20 billion for healthcare technology;
  • $1 billion for a “Health & Wellness” Fund;
  • More than $15 billion for research and upgrading research facilities focused on key areas of innovation, such as climate change, biofuels, disease control and prevention, and technology innovation; and:
  • Enhanced and streamlined programs through the SBA.  


We’ve also seen some early outcomes that give us cause for concern.  Of course, there were those AIG bonuses, luxurious private jets flown by executives from failing automakers to beg Congress for bail-out money, and the hundreds of billions of dollars given to the firms that helped get us in this mess in the first place.  And hucksters, of course, have recently populated email spam folders with promises of stimulus funding in return for credit card information. 

But we’ve also seen frustration on the front lines when we’ve spoken and worked directly with leaders of promising businesses in those targeted sectors.   How do I apply for the funding?  Am I eligible?  Where do I even find the information?

Of course, part of the confusion and a lack of clear information are inevitable – current systems to notify businesses of the methods to access these funds are inadequate for such a surge in new programs.  But the confusion is largely due to the same complaints that start-ups and small businesses have expressed about government “support” programs for decades:  It’s difficult to even figure out what’s available and how to apply for the resources, and continues to be in the age of the Internet.  

During the next two weeks, we will provide those answers on a sector by sector basis.  No fluff, no platitudes, just the Bottom Line for your business.    

 

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The next article in our Bottom Line Series will focus on stimulus funds available for entrepreneurial companies in the healthcare sector.  


Kiva to Launch in the United States


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I recently wrote a blog post about Kiva and all the good it is doing worldwide.

As you may recall, Kiva is "the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world."  Specifically, on their website, individuals who need small loans to start or grow their businesses request funding. And, other individuals from around the world offer this funding in increments as low as $25. To date, nearly 500,000 users have lent almost $65 million, interest-free, to developing-world entrepreneurs through Kiva.org.  $3.5 million was distributed last month alone.

Not surprisingly, since the majority of you are based here in the United States, in response to my email about Kiva I received lots of emails saying that Kiva should launch in the United States. I agreed.

And now, a few weeks later, Fortune Magazine is reporting that Kiva plans to launch in the United States within a few months. This could be a HUGE funding opportunity for American entrepreneurs!

Importantly, while the highest loan amount for entrepreneurs in the developing world is $1200, in the United States, it will be $10,000. One issue that hasn't been fully resolved is vetting. In the developing world, Kiva "uses microfinance institution partners to vet entrepreneurs before allowing them to solicit funding. By asking a series of questions to assess roots in the community and the legitimacy of a business, Kiva is able to establish a risk profile for each entrepreneur. Before offering money to, say, the proprietor of a Dominican fruit stand, any lender can read the entrepreneur¹s profile, history of defaults, and a bit about the business."

In the United States, Kiva says that they are "signing on microfinance partners in the Bay Area and in the Northeast," but have not released who these partners will be or how the vetting process will work.

In any case, this is GREAT news for American entrepreneurs.

You can read the full Fortune article here.

The People, or Execution Risk of a Business


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In my last column, I wrote about how to measure risk in a startup and/or emerging company.  In today's column, I go deeper into what is by far the biggest factor driving this risk - namely the "people," or execution risk of a company. 

It is extremely hard to identify a management team of a smaller company (or any company, for that matter) with the right combination of small business and corporate smarts, integrity, and work ethic to build and exit a company for themselves and their investors. 

In my 10 years at Growthink, I have had both the benefit and the misfortune of not only investing in and advising a lot of companies that were successful in executing their growth plans, but also a lot of them that weren't.  And it has been in the comparison between the two that has informed my thinking as to what to look for. 

Here are 7 managerial attributes that I have found present in virtually all of the successful companies with which I have worked, and which were lacking in those that failed:

7.  They are, in fact, a Team.  This may seem obvious, but all great companies are not simply the by-product of a visionary and/or charismatic founder and chief executive, but rather of a multi-disciplinary, multi-faceted, and well-meshed leadership team.  Great companies have cultures of achievement.  The tone of this culture might be, and usually is, set by by a charismatic founder.  But its enduring success is dependent on how it can replicate and maintain that culture as the company grows, and as its founder's role becomes less pronounced.  

6.  It is clear who is in charge.  This may seem contradictory to the above, but all well-led companies have clear and final points of decision-making.  There are many effective styles of leadership, from greatly autocratic to fundamentally consensual, but all of them share the fact that in them there is one person at whose desk the "buck" truly stops.

5.  They have small business discipline.  To paraphrase Guy Kawasaki -- one of the most informed and battle-tested entrepreneurial commentators out there -- the worst folks to run a startup or an emerging company are a group of ex-Microsoft executives.   Entrepreneurial companies are first and foremost small businesses.  As such, their management must a) fervently guard cash flow and manage with a cult-like intensity and b) always make decisions with the mindset that they only have so many "arrows in the quiver" in terms of time and capital to pursue initiatives.

4.  They are risk-takers.  The proper goal of an entrepreneur with outside investors is not to run a small business in the common sense of the term. With the fear of sounding harsh, the best managers are minimally concerned with protecting their own "middle-class" lifestyles.  Rather, they understand that to achieve greatly requires daring greatly.  For investors, the worst outcome of an investment in a company is not necessarily a flame-out failure, but rather a muddling along driven by too conservative managerial decision-making influenced by the desire to preserve salaries.  Companies run this way in fact usually require MORE money to be invested into them, and thus perversely are actually riskier than their harder-charging brethren.

3.  They are Goldilocks-ish.  While there are certainly outliers in this regard, the significant majority of the best entrepreneurial managers are not "too hot" nor "too cold."  Again, not a hard and fast rule, but most venture firms prefer to back a management team where the key people are between the ages of 30 to 45, have had a few past successes and maybe a failure or two.   They are now in that sweet spot between experience and wisdom, between youthful hunger and energy.  They know what they know yet they still have the intellectual and emotional flexibility and curiousity to change and grow.

2.  They are technologists.   All successful emerging company investments are made in what are, at their essence, technology companies.  This does not mean that they are all what would be considered as classic "emerging technology" companies (though the majority of them, in fact, are).    Rather, well-run modern companies leverage technology -- from CRM and ERP to SEO and SEM to scenario-planning and simulation -- to "best practice" their business models.   Their managers understand that "IT" is not just the domain of a geeky guy to call when computers can't boot up, but is rather the crucial skeleton of the organism of their business.

1.  They are pig-headed, determined, and willing to sacrifice to be successful.  More than anything else, great, modern managers work hard.  As in very, very, very, very hard. They work nights.  They work weekends.  They take short vacations, if any.  They work when they're sick.  They work when they're tired.  They work and work and work and then to paraphrase the great (and famously hard-working) golfer Gary Player, "The harder they work, the luckier they get." 
Look for this quality above all others in leaders and managers -- it is almost always the best predictor of the presence of the other qualities on this list, and of entrepreneurs that make their investors a lot of money.

Churrasco, Caipirinhas, and Emerging Technology with a Twist, Por Favor!


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It’s not often that we at Growthink get to see the fruits of our labors in person.  In today’s virtual, global economy, we conduct business with many small companies whose executives we may never meet and whose base of operations we may never visit.  However, we’ve served a vital purpose in growth planning and/or capital-raising for various clients who’ve paved the way in industry and innovation; and of that, we couldn’t be more proud.  Well, perhaps we could if we were there to see the evolution before our own eyes… to witness a milestone.

Last week, I had the great honor (and luxury, if I might say!) to travel to Brazil with my colleague, Dave Fruhling, and to spend time with a client that is developing a technology with the support of the Brazilian government and its university system.  For those who are not versed in emerging markets, Brazil is at the forefront of grant funding for the country’s entrepreneurial endeavors and inventions; the most notable of which has been airline manufacturer Embraer.  Setting a phenomenal precedent for new developments and technologies, this success has brought credibility to emerging economies like Brazil and has stimulated interest in the incubation of other new companies via federal organizations like FINEP (Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos).  More importantly, the university system (both public and private) provides a great deal of R&D for these companies, working collaboratively to provide validation and even certification of patented technologies.  This is not dissimilar to the United States, but what we found was that the accessibility of IP transfers is much more conducive under the Brazilian structure than it is within our own First World processes.

In the time we spent meeting with university research departments, funding organizations, and client partners, we saw nothing less than enthusiasm for and belief in the company’s ability to be THE NEXT Brazilian technological phenomenon.  It was contagious.  I don’t consider myself a tech guru by any means, but I came away full of excitement about propulsion systems, motors, and velocity.  

Is your interest piqued?  It should be.  This client is on the verge of international recognition over the next 3-5 years, and I had the opportunity to meet the people, see the research institutes, experience the test program, and live vicariously through the company’s champions; of which Dave and I now proclaim to be as well.  Sure, we were leading project efforts from our offices; and doing so with diligence and interest – but this trip made us invest even more.  Our team is dedicated to providing the best guidance to the client, to give them and ALL of their stakeholders a chance to be another Brazilian ‘success’ story.

Throughout all of the above, we wove in a mixture of cultural and team-building activities; most of which included eating, drinking, dancing, and even bowling.  Yes, bowling.  The latter – not surprisingly – is not very popular in Brazil, but the client knew of a club with lanes in the back; said lanes, which we graced until the wee hours.  I witnessed several occasions where the beer consumption-to-score ratio was quite impressive, though for one of the engineers on the project there remains little hope of a professional league title.

At one particular festivity, I was introduced to the Brazilian drink of choice: the caipirinha.  I was warned in advance that this sugar-cane drink was quite potent, so I consumed carefully with each one placed in front of me...  Low and behold, a dancer then pulled me on stage to show his “prowess” and skill with spinning ropes, featuring heavy ball-like objects at the ends that could very well result in concussion or death if they made contact with my head.  Despite the beverage intake, I managed to stand very still and exit the stage to applause and body intact.  Of course, it was quite the demonstration from the client’s perspective – my “hazing”, if you will, that garnered many a laugh and ongoing witty remark.

And then there was the barbeque.

Brazil is famous for its barbeque, or Churrasco, featuring grills the size of my apartment and meats seasoned then cooked to perfection.  Note to self: make proper use of the “on” and “off” markers on the table, lest risk a protein overload.  Topped off with mango mousse, it was all a little slice of heaven south of the equator!

On Friday the group dispersed and I explored Rio solo, reflecting upon the education I received from the experience and thanking a very tall statue of Jesus for the wonder of Brazilian people and culture.  Looking out over the lush mountains and the curving coastline, I could understand how one becomes inspired by such a place; a place ripe with beauty, passion, gusto and Bossa Nova.

Finding myself back Stateside, I vow to return again to stimulate my palette and to witness the next leaps of our client into the broader South American marketplace.


Educating Angels & What That Means for Entrepreneurs


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A few months back, a unique conference called "AngelConf" took place in Silicon Valley. The conference was organized for angel investors and its goal was to educate angel investors on how to invest in startups.

Key questions that the event addressed were:

  • How much are you supposed to invest?

  • What legal agreements do you need?

  • Where do you find startups to invest in?

  • How do you pick winners?

It was this last question that conference organizer Paul Graham from YCombinator agreed was the most important.

Graham's first point on this topic is that angel investors should pick startups that "make things that people want." Seems simple enough. However, Graham went on to say that angels should not invest in things that are already wildly popular. "By then it's too late for angels. VCs will already be onto them. As an angel, you have to pick startups before they've got a hit-either because they've made something great but users don't realize it yet, like Google early on, or because they're still an iteration or two away from the big hit, like Paypal when they were making software for transferring money between PDAs."

As such, angel investors need to be able to predict future market sizes (not just identify markets that are already doing well).

Graham's second point on this topic is that angel investors need to pick founders who are winners. On this point, he said the following:

"What makes a good founder? If there were a word that meant the opposite of hapless, that would be the one. Bad founders seem hapless. They may be smart, or not, but somehow events overwhelm them and they get discouraged and give up. Good founders make things happen the way they want. Which is not to say they force things to happen in a predefined way. Good founders have a healthy respect for reality. But they are relentlessly resourceful. That's the closest I can get to the opposite of hapless. You want to fund people who are relentlessly resourceful."    

Now, what this means to you as the entrepreneur is that this is how you will be judged by many angel investors. They will judge the future potential of your business concept and they will judge the potential of you and/or your management team.

With regards to the potential of your business concept, you must convince them that your market is poised for growth, and in doing so, you MUST cite multiple research and statistical points that confirm your views (I can't reiterate enough how critical great market research is).

With regards to the quality of you, the founder, and/or your management team, you need to show the investor, via past performance and ALL current interaction between you and the investor that you are a winner. You need to show them that you make things happen. Here are some examples of how can you accomplish this:

  • Tell them a current business objective and come back to them two weeks later and show them you have achieved it.

  • Find some way you can help them (e.g., introducing them to a business contact of yours that could help them) and execute on it right away.

  • Ask them about questions they have about your opportunity and/or market and come back to them within 24 hours with great research and answers to their questions.

These smaller, short-term accomplishments which show investors that you can execute and that you are clearly not 'hapless' will massively improve your chances of getting them to invest in you.


I love Kiva


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I love Kiva.  For those not familiar, Kiva is a person-to-person micro-lending site – allowing individuals, primarily from developed countries, to lend directly to entrepreneurs in the developing world.  The borrowers are in places like Cambodia, Bolivia, Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Peru, and Tanzania – and primarily borrow to allow their very small businesses to expand and hire.

Let Entrepreneurial America Breathe Again - Please


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The old adage about the definition of insanity -- "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" -- has never been more applicable than it is right now with the crisis in our financial markets and our government's response thereto.  The daily, depressing drama of the federal government's frenetic, "bailout flavor of the day" response mechanism would be comical if it wasn't so tragic, frustrating, and anger-inducing.

Sometimes I feel I went to bed one night in the United States of America and woke up in the U.S.S.R. in the midst of a "5-year plan." It is long-overdue time for Main Street America, for Small Business America, for Scientist's and Engineer's America, for Junior Achievement America, for Paper Route America, for Immigrant America, for eBay America, for Mary Kay America, for Franchise America, for Venture Capital America, for Startup America, for Entrepreneurial America to stand up and shout ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

Because they built this country.  Because they represent and embody its best and most admirable and most idealistic qualities.  And because if the Washington bureaucrats would just let them be and get out of their way they can and will dig this country out of its current hole far quicker, cheaper, and more fairly than via the banana republic cronyism that masquerades as policy in Washington these days.

The funny thing is, Entrepreneurial America has never been more vibrant, more creative, more productivity-building, more value-creating, than it is right now.  With the collapse of the "Blue Chips," the playing field has never been more level, the competitive arena never more wide open, the cost of key business inputs (labor, rents, technology) never less than it is right now for entrepreneurs.

What these firms need to succeed is not government handouts or "stimulus," but simply good old-fashioned growth capital.  And for this capital, these companies -- in such dynamic growth arenas as alternative & green energy, healthcare & biotechnology, digital media, and software -- are priced at  "end-of-the-world" levels.  In other words, as long as the world does not end, they will make themselves and their investors money.

So my suggestion to all of those in Entrepreneurial America: make yourself heard.  Call and write your congressperson and senator.  Email essays like this to your family, friends, and colleagues.  Support your local small business.  If you see a website of a business you like, write the company and tell them to keep on keeping on.   Blog.  Twitter.  Post on YouTube.  Shout out on Facebook.  Because this is a fight for private enterprise and economic freedom and one that Entrepreneurial America, and the world for that matter, cannot afford to lose.

Read Jay's second article in this series - Entrepreneurial America, Part 2.

Webinar: Keys to Successful Private Company Investing

Please join me on a live, interactive web conference where I will share with you my keys to successful private company investing including:

- How to utilize the Internet to source and research opportunities
- How to conduct data-driven risk analysis on private company deals
- How to exploit the "pricing inefficiency gap" endemic to private equity
- The importance of technology bias (and which technologies to bias) when selecting deals
- How to properly apply "black swan," or "randomness" thinking to private company investing strategy

To register, click here: http://www.growthink.com/livedeals


Why Entrepreneurial Capitalism Now


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It is absolutely astounding how quickly the discussion around the appropriate government response to the economic crisis has morphed -- from one around whether it even makes sense, or is the proper thing to do, for government to bail out ailing financial and manufacturing firms -- to one simply around "how much," "how fast," and "how many."


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