I had the great pleasure of participating in the Startup Leadership Program’s panel discussion at WeWork about entrepreneurship, particularly the DC entrepreneur ecosphere. Between the four panelists, we had run a global accelerator, invested in early stage startups, started successful high-growth ventures, written books, spoke all over the world, and advised startups at every stage of growth. What was our commonality outside of entrepreneurship? Our connection to Washington DC.
What is an ecosphere? The traditional definition is the planetary ecosystem, consisting of all living organisms and their environment. Applying that to the panel discussion, it included all of the entrepreneurs, accelerators, incubators, and investors that contribute to the DC startup scene. I saw that ecosphere, not only in the panel participants, but in the diverse group of people who came to listen and learn. It was incredibly exciting to see new and aspiring entrepreneurs absorbing advice and asking questions that would help them grow successful businesses.
I must give a shout out to Amy Millman, the founder of Springboard Enterprises. Her accelerator has helped over 590 woman-led companies raise over 6.7 billion in funding, creating tens of thousands of new jobs, and generating billions of dollars in annual revenue since 2000. She is one of my all-time favorite people to be on a panel with. She has amazing insights and innumerable real-life examples of what to do and what not to do. Amy was one of the first women I interviewed for Elegant Entrepreneur, and I am blessed to know her and share her wisdom in my book.