Last week Washington D.C. celebrated many of its local entrepreneurial talent and leaders at the second annual D.C. Entrepreneurship Week (DCEW). The five day event ran from November 14th -18th, and featured panel discussions, pitch sessions, roundtables (including a PR 101 session ran by yours truly) and forums, that allowed attendees to gain valuable insight and knowledge from not only each other, but industry innovators.
The aim of DCEW was to build relationships and develop ideas to strengthen the local entrepreneurship culture in Washington. These thought-provoking sessions included speakers like Mayor Vincent Gray; Carl Schramm, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Kauffman Foundation; Timothy Keenan, President & Chairman of High Performance Technologies; Alyssa Lovegrove , CEO and Founder of New Venture Mentors; David Ross, Janssen Healthcare Innovation group; and Susan Wilson, CEO and Founder of FundHer.
A highlight of the week was watching the almost 50 different companies pitch their businesses and ideas to some of DC’s top ventures capitalists and angle investors. Some of which are included in the media coverage links below.
The closing sessions for this year’s D.C. Entrepreneurship Week featured Internet pioneer, venture capital investor and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, Ted Leonsis. During his discussion, he shed light on his business philosophy; finding success through the pursuit of happiness…telling us that “success isn’t always happiness but happiness is always success!”
He also left us with five important criteria for a happy and successful business (discussed in his book, The Business of Happiness).
1. Communities of Interest: Get involved in your surrounding community. A business should work and facilitate the idea of bringing people and neighborhoods together. Think of Facebook, or Twitter, and how they use their power for good, not evil. Making it easier to connect with friends and family worldwide.
2. High levels of Self-expression: A leader and their business should facilitate in high levels of self-expression, whether it be through raising awareness in person or through a blog.
3. High Levels of Empathy: Empathy is the human emotion that keeps things going; it’s having care and compassion for others. Leonsis explained that having high levels of empathy will make you a great leader. Also, companies that are hyper-empathetic have more value to society than companies that do not.
4. Get out of the “I” and into the “We”: Be an activist, philanthropist or mentor by volunteering and giving back to others. Turn employee time into a currency of doing good—do well by doing good!!
To Read more about DCEW check out DCEW.org or see local media coverage from Washington Post, Capital Business, Washington Post OnSmallBusiness: Photo Gallery, What it Takes to Get Funding, 5 Rules to Starting a Biz and WUSA9 to name a few!!
And a HUGE thank you to small business superstars and Co-founders of DCEW, Charlie Paret of Paxton Stuart, Rachael Glaws of RGI Events, Lindsey Mask of Global Vision Communications and Peter Stuart of Paxton Stuart