How to Fudge the Numbers, ESO Edition

As we continue our conversation about honesty in the entrepreneurship support arena, we cannot possibly skip the conversation about some of the games that non-profit entrepreneurship support organizations (ESOs) play to make it look like they’re having a huge impact when they may or may not actually be doing so.  Continue Reading

Why Startup Loans to Address the Access to Capital Gap Are a Terrible Idea

I’ve written about the access to capital gap for minority and female entrepreneurs before here and here, so you likely already know where I am going when I say that startup loans to address the access to capital gap are a terrible idea, but I think it’s so important that it warrants its own post.  Continue Reading

Is “Meeting People Where They Are” Just Thinly Veiled Racism/Sexism/Classism?

One of the frequently used phrases that irks me most in my work with ESOs and other economic development organizations and professionals who also support minority and female entrepreneurs is, “you have to meet people where they are.” It bothers me so much because I see it as a thinly veiled expression of racism, sexism, and/or classism.  Continue Reading

The Layers of the Access to Capital Problem in Entrepreneurship Support

Most academics and economic development professionals agree that the three key barriers to entrepreneurial success for minorities and women are 1) a lack of management knowledge/expertise, 2) a lack of access to capital, and 3) a lack of access to networks. Let’s take the lack of access to capital problem and break down its layers a bit so that we can identify the proper solutions. Continue Reading

How to Interview an Entrepreneurship Center…and Why You Should

As I’ve laid out a number of times (click here and here for the basics), there are major problems with non-profit entrepreneurship support. Given that fact, it’s important for entrepreneurs to be choosy about which entrepreneurship support organizations (ESOs) they decide to work with, so here are some tips for interviewing entrepreneurship centers. Continue Reading

Why Typical Entrepreneurship Support Success Metrics Are BS

I have an entire section in my white paper about why the typical metrics of success used to evaluate entrepreneurship support organizations (ESOs) need to be changed and the damage that is being done by sticking with the status quo, which I encourage you to read, but here’s the SparkNotes version: Continue Reading

Why Chicago Doesn’t Need Another CDFI

For those of you who are not familiar, a CDFI is a Community Development Financing Institution. In the small business world, these organizations make small business loans to companies and entrepreneurs who would be unable to get a traditional bank loan due to a lack of collateral, poor credit, no business history, a small loan size, or a host of other factors.  Continue Reading

What Is “Entrepreneurship Theater” & Why Is It So Damaging?

I first heard the phrase “entrepreneurship theater” from my friend Heather Hiscox at Moves the Needle and have been obsessed with it ever since. We were having a conversation about how tons of the entrepreneurship support we see is a complete and utter waste of time and has little to no impact, and she busted out that perfect phrase to describe what we were talking about. Continue Reading

Let’s Get Honest About Entrepreneurship Support

I’ve been publishing my New Venture Mentor blog, which directly serves entrepreneurs, and consulting directly with small business clients for years. I’ve also separately published pieces like my white paper, Re-Examining Entrepreneurship Support Structures to Improve Outcomes for Under-Served Entrepreneursand worked with non-profits that support entrepreneurs to help them improve their service offerings. Continue Reading