Left to Right: Prime Minister of Macedonia, Nikola Gruevski, Patrick Gannon, Rhea Law, Sara Hand and Andrew McIntosh

What do words like education, network, virtual, job growth, support, incubator, accelerator, angel, pitch, and VC all have in common? They all connect to this term you see thrown all around lately. Across headlines – print and digital – the buzz is about “entrepreneurs.” So what’s all the interest in this word that spell check loves?

Let’s look at the word and its definition for some insight.


1.An enterprising individual who builds capital through risk and/or initiative.

2.  A person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on financial risk to do so.

3. The capacity and willingness to undertake conception, organization, and management of a productive venture with all attendant risks, while seeking profit as a reward.

Oh yes, I see now. It is about building businesses that build capital.  After the last couple years of economic upheaval and what has been rampant unemployment, anyone or anything that could build capital would be welcome.

So the hunt is on for this entrepreneur. Other entrepreneurs, organizations and governments race to provide support and opportunities to attract and nurture the individuals that possess this ability. According to businessdictionary.com :

In economics, entrepreneurship is regarded as a factor of production together with land, labor, natural resources, and capital. Entrepreneurial spirit is characterized by innovation and risk-taking, and an essential component of a nation’s ability to succeed in an ever changing and more competitive global marketplace.

Recently I attended some “entrepreneurial” events around the Republican National convention hosted by The Startup America Partnership and Startup Rockon. Entrepreneurs were encouraged to engage and to let their voices be heard by those who shape the legislation that fosters or hinders growth. Events ranged from the panel discussions I attended on the interaction or lack of between startups and government, and discussions with women founders to after-hours extravaganzas totaling well over 4000 attendees across the events.  With an international audience present at the conventions, there was a discussion of incentives for investment and expansion, including the benefit of multiple European nation free trade agreements with the Prime Minister of Macedonia and his delegation. Across the board, whether US or not, entrepreneurs are in high demand as wise politicians court this sector.

Organizations with a mission in economic development have a strong push in this area of entrepreneurial development. From focus groups to special committees, the talk is strong about supporting and facilitating entrepreneurs. The challenge here is that the mindset of the entrepreneur tends to be very different from that of an individual that has pursued a more traditional business track. So moving forward will require those in economic development to be collaborative, to move outside the confines of traditional thought and themselves as organizations to become more entrepreneurial in nature.

A research study places Florida as the 5th best state in our country to be an entrepreneur and to grow a business. However, across the state the number of business incubators and accelerators is rising, whether sponsored publically or privately. At the recent iSummit conference in Orlando, not only did we get to tour the beautiful space of Voxeo and hear how they support a collaborative and synergistic co-working space, and hear a variety of panel discussions on topics surrounding starting and growing business, including a pitch event where early stage ventures had 3 minutes to present their company for feedback and potential investment; but I spoke to two more organizations coordinating investors with an interest in early stage funding.

It bears repeating. For every early stage investment, 2.5 jobs are created. Why are entrepreneurs that HOT TOPIC? Entrepreneurs build companies that create jobs and generate capital.

Originally posted by Sara Hand on Jan 20, 2013