An Entrepreneur in Every Garage

"A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage."
– Presidential campaign slogan attributed to Herbert Hoover

Allen J. Fuller, III asked me via Twitter, "You have talked about regional development in the past.  What would the NRV [New River Valley of Virginia] look like if your vision were realized?" 

For regional economic development, an entrepreneur in every garage! Yes, I certainly have talked about regional economic development. A vision of the awesome power of social media to contribute to a regional economic revolution is fundamental to Handshake 2.0's business model.  We walk the talk of economic development through social media and Regional Economic Development on Handshake 2.0 certainly has its own category on the site.

If realized, what would regional economic development look like to me?

An entrepreneur in every garage. 

Or in every basement, coffee shop, dorm room, home office, bedroom or established corporation – wherever computer power and tools and materials could exist for a creative mind to invent.  And then for that mind to think, "This could be a business."

That's part of my vision.  It's only part because of this:

“When I started my company, I had to find my own mentors and scrape together capital in an ad hoc manner – and also do all the work required to make the enterprise succeed operationally.  I’m excited about helping the next generation of entrepreneurs by systematizing those critical tasks.  And Blacksburg [Virginia] is a great place to live and work.”
– Pat Matthews, DayOne Ventures Mentor

That's a hard way to go.  For my vision, which is impatient, I want new companies now, funded now.  That can happen when a culture of entrepreneurship is born of consciousness rather than opportunism.

I see our region creating a culture in which entrepreneurs are valued as individuals, as creators and inventors, as potential world-changers and as potential generators of profits, enriching their companies, their investors, and their communities.

Just look at these recent entrepreneurship launches, some within the past few days:

Allen, thank you for asking about my vision for regional economic development in the New River Valley of Virginia.  It's already taking shape.

BTW, Allen, are you an entrepreneur?  Got a garage?  Around here, it's a good time to be an entrepreneur.

***

Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0, is part of the culture of entrepreneurship through membership in business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks. VT KnowledgeWorks is a client of Handshake Media.

If You Don’t Quit, You’ve Got a Chance to Win as a Start-Up. That’s Moxie.

Today is the deadline - Friday, February 5, 2010 - for submitting an Intent to Compete form to the  VT KnowledgeWorks Second Annual Entrepreneurship Summit Business Concept Competitions – one for students, one open - by featuring a video a day on entrepreneurship by Jim Flowers, executive director of VT KnowledgeWorks.

Flowers has a series of videos on what he terms the Four Fundamental Factors of entrepreneurship.  As he explains in his blog, So you want to launch a business…, "Success or failure of a new venture is determined very early on the strength or weakness of only a few fundamental factors, four, to be exact."

Here's one of the Four Fundamental Factors from Jim Flowers – Moxie.

***

VT KnowledgeWorks, a regional business acceleration center that helps companies bring ideas to market, will present the Second Annual Entrepreneurship Summit on April 7-8, 2010 at the Inn at Virginia Tech & Skelton Conference Center in Blacksburg, Virginia. This two-day comprehensive workshop is for prospective company founders, entrepreneurs launching or re-vamping a business, growing companies seeking expansion capital, and individuals interested in investing in early-stage companies.

Here are step-by-step instructions for applying for the Open Business Concept Competition and step-by-step instructions for applying for Student Business Concept Competition.

Here's more about VT KnowledgeWorks on Handshake 2.0 and here's the VT KnowledgeWorks blog, Inside VT KnowledgeWorks.

***

VT KnowledgeWorks is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Start-Up Mentors Don’t Tell You What To Do – They Give You Information

We're counting down towards the Friday, February 5, 2010 deadline for submitting an Intent to Compete form to the  VT KnowledgeWorks Second Annual Entrepreneurship Summit Business Concept Competitions – one for students, one open - by featuring a video a day on entrepreneurship by Jim Flowers, executive director of VT KnowledgeWorks.

Flowers has a series of videos on what he terms the Four Fundamental Factors of entrepreneurship.  As he explains in his blog, So you want to launch a business…, "Success or failure of a new venture is determined very early on the strength or weakness of only a few fundamental factors, four, to be exact."

Here's one of the Four Fundamental Factors from Jim Flowers – Mentors. 

***

VT KnowledgeWorks, a regional business acceleration center that helps companies bring ideas to market, will present the Second Annual Entrepreneurship Summit on April 7-8, 2010 at the Inn at Virginia Tech & Skelton Conference Center in Blacksburg, Virginia. This two-day comprehensive workshop is for prospective company founders, entrepreneurs launching or re-vamping a business, growing companies seeking expansion capital, and individuals interested in investing in early-stage companies.

Here are step-by-step instructions for applying for the Open Business Concept Competition and step-by-step instructions for applying for Student Business Concept Competition.

Here's more about VT KnowledgeWorks on Handshake 2.0 and here's the VT KnowledgeWorks blog, Inside VT KnowledgeWorks.

***

VT KnowledgeWorks is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Pat Matthews to Keynote Entrepreneurship Summit

Pat Matthews, founder of Webmail.us and General Manager of Email & Apps division of Rackspace Hosting will open the  VT KnowledgeWorks Entrepreneurship Summit as the keynote speaker on April 7, 2010, the first session of the two-day Summit on April 7-8, 2010 at the Inn at Virginia Tech & Skelton Conference Center in Blacksburg, Virginia.  Here's the full schedule of events.  Attendees and exhibitors can register here.

Patt Matthews kindly gave an interview to Z. Kelly Queijo and Handshake 2.0 upon Rackspace winning the 2009 Global North American Hosted Enterprise Email Customer Value Enhancement Award.

Thanks to Cameron Nouri for the "Rackers" photo.

Rackers of Rackspace Email and Apps in Blacksburg, Virginia 

***

VT KnowledgeWorks is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Putting Magic in a Start-Up

We’re counting down towards the Friday, February 5, 2010 deadline for submitting an Intent to Compete form to the  VT KnowledgeWorks Second Annual Entrepreneurship Summit Business Concept Competitions – one for students, one open – by featuring a video a day on entrepreneurship by Jim Flowers, executive director of VT KnowledgeWorks.


Flowers has a series of videos on what he terms the Four Fundamental Factors of entrepreneurship.  As he explains in his blog, So you want to launch a business…, “Success or failure of a new venture is determined very early on the strength or weakness of only a few fundamental factors, four, to be exact.”


Here’s one of the Four Fundamental Factors from Jim Flowers – Magic.  He uses fanatical customer support from Rackspace Email & Apps as an example.





***


VT KnowledgeWorks, a regional business acceleration center that helps companies bring ideas to market, will present the Second Annual Entrepreneurship Summit on April 7-8, 2010 at the Inn at Virginia Tech & Skelton Conference Center in Blacksburg, Virginia. This two-day comprehensive workshop is for prospective company founders, entrepreneurs launching or re-vamping a business, growing companies seeking expansion capital, and individuals interested in investing in early-stage companies.


Here are step-by-step instructions for applying for the Open Business Concept Competition and step-by-step instructions for applying for Student Business Concept Competition.


Here’s more about VT KnowledgeWorks on Handshake 2.0 and here’s the VT KnowledgeWorks blog, Inside VT KnowledgeWorks.



***


VT KnowledgeWorks is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Entrepreneurs Need to Know Their Markets

We're counting down towards the February 5, 2010 deadline for submitting an Intent to Compete form to the  VT KnowledgeWorks Second Annual Entrepreneurship Summit Business Concept Competitions – one for students, one open - by featuring a video a day on entrepreneurship by Jim Flowers, executive director of VT KnowledgeWorks.

Flowers has a series of videos on what he terms the Four Fundamental Factors of entrepreneurship.  As he explains in his blog, So you want to launch a business…, "Success or failure of a new venture is determined very early on the strength or weakness of only a few fundamental factors, four, to be exact."

Here's one of the Four Fundamental Factors from Jim Flowers – Market.

***

VT KnowledgeWorks, a regional business acceleration center that helps companies bring ideas to market, will present the Second Annual Entrepreneurship Summit on April 7-8, 2010 at the Inn at Virginia Tech & Skelton Conference Center in Blacksburg, Virginia. This two-day comprehensive workshop is for prospective company founders, entrepreneurs launching or re-vamping a business, growing companies seeking expansion capital, and individuals interested in investing in early-stage companies.

Here are step-by-step instructions for applying for the Open Business Concept Competition and step-by-step instructions for applying for Student Business Concept Competition.

Here's more about VT KnowledgeWorks on Handshake 2.0 and here's the VT KnowledgeWorks blog, Inside VT KnowledgeWorks.

***

VT KnowledgeWorks is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Entrepreneurship Summit – Four Fundamental Factors

We're counting down towards the February 5, 2010 deadline for submitting an Intent to Compete form to the  VT KnowledgeWorks Second Annual Entrepreneurship Summit Business Concept Competitions – one for students, one open - by featuring a video a day on entrepreneurship by Jim Flowers, executive director of VT KnowledgeWorks.

Flowers has a series of videos on what he terms the Four Fundamental Factors of entrepreneurship.  As he explains in his blog, So you want to launch a business…, "Success or failure of a new venture is determined very early on the strength or weakness of only a few fundamental factors, four, to be exact."

Here's an overview of the Four Fundamental Factors from Jim Flowers.


***

VT KnowledgeWorks, a regional business acceleration center that helps companies bring ideas to market, will present the Second Annual Entrepreneurship Summit on April 7-8, 2010 at the Inn at Virginia Tech & Skelton Conference Center in Blacksburg, Virginia. This two-day comprehensive workshop is for prospective company founders, entrepreneurs launching or re-vamping a business, growing companies seeking expansion capital, and individuals interested in investing in early-stage companies.

Here are step-by-step instructions for applying for the Open Business Concept Competition and step-by-step instructions for applying for Student Business Concept Competition.

Here's more about VT KnowledgeWorks on Handshake 2.0 and here's the VT KnowledgeWorks blog, Inside VT KnowledgeWorks.

***

VT KnowledgeWorks is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Entrepreneurship Summit – Putting Skin in the Game

Today's the first.  On the fifth, for an entrepreneur to have skin in the game will cost fifty bucks.

For those who just like to watch, exhibitors and attendees can pay for admission.

There will be sweating.

Entrepreneurs will pitch their ideas at Alumni Asssembly Hall at the Inn at Virginia Tech The hot events of the VT KnowledgeWorks Second Annual Entrepreneurship Summit will be the Business Concept Competitions – one for students, one open – on April 7 and the Live Angel Funding Session on April 8, 2010.

See those lines pointing to center stage?  All eyes will be on the entrepreneur…

To compete in the Business Concept Competitions in the VTKW E-Summit, individuals or teams must register by filling out an Intent to Compete form online by February 5, 2010.  A one-page summary of the concept is due February 12.

The Business Concept Competitions are open to all technology entrepreneurs in Virginia and western North Carolina.  Links to complete information begin here, VT KnowledgeWorks Second Annual Entrepreneurship Summit, and here are step-by-step instructions for entering the Open Business Concept Competition and step-by-step instructions for entering the Student Business Concept Competition.

Which five entrepreneurs will be selected to reveal their ideas in the arena?

***

VT KnowledgeWorks is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Juggling Entrepreneurship

So you want to launch a business, eh?  Do you have Market, Magic, Mentors, and Moxie?  To succeed as an entrepreneur, Jim Flowers thinks you have to possess all Four Fundamental Factors.  He shares how to juggle 'em all in his blog aptly entitled So you want to launch a business…

Jim Flowers juggles the Four Fundamental Factors of successful entrepreneurship

Jim Flowers recently wrote What to Expect from an Incubator, a guest post for Martin Zwillig's Startup blog.

Jim Flowers is the executive director of technology incubator and business acceleration center VT KnolwedgeWorks.  Accolades received for VT KnowledgeWorks under his leadership include listing among the Top Ten Incubators in the United States and an international award, Most Promising New Incubator. He facilitates multiple Presidents’ Council groups which feature monthly meetings fostering corporate leadership within a context of confidentiality and synergy. 

Illustration by Daniel Yowell

VT KnowledgeWorks and Jim Flowers are clients of Handshake Media, Incorporated.

Rackspace Tech Showcase: Campus Carriers – A Moving Experience

Remember when you were a kid and grown-ups would ask, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” For Dan Burdi and Ryan Carter, the answer was the same for both: An entrepreneur. This dream came true for them earlier this year when together they launched Campus Carriers.

Ryan Carter and Dan Burdi of Campus Carriers Campus Carriers is a full-service solution for college students needing to store their belongings over summer break. According to Dan, “Students registered with Campus Carriers will have their items picked-up, stored for the summer, and delivered to their new address – on or off campus – before the start of fall semester. No need to seek out a storage place or lug stuff back home just to bring it back to school in the fall.” 

Necessity was the mother of this innovative idea for a company. After graduating from Virginia Tech in 2008, Ryan found himself in lease limbo. “He needed a place to store his stuff before his new lease started,” said Dan. "''What better place to store his stuff than at my apartment?' I thought. After a few weeks of having to climb couches, desks, chairs and tables, we decided there had to be a better way."

That "better way" launched officially in March of 2009. Prices vary depending on the amount of belongings moved and stored. “We strive to keep our pricing competitive with self-storage while still offering the full-service moving and delivery. We are focusing on providing a great value proposition and so far seem to be getting it right.”

For Ryan, learning how to get it right started at the age of 13. Little did he know that the experience he gained as an eBay reseller would lay the groundwork for a future involving packaging and boxes.  “My career plan has always been to be an entrepreneur and work for myself.”

Dan, too, explored owning a business as a teenager. “I have wanted to be an entrepreneur ever since starting my first company in sophomore year of high school. It was a computer company that I thought would take down Dell.  Of course Dell is still around and I know much more now about running a business!”

Campus Carriers currently serves Virginia Tech students, but, not surprisingly, Dan and Ryan have their sights set on future moves. To keep up, visit their web site at www.CampusCarriers.com
or follow them on Twitter at www.twitter.com/campuscarriers.

***

Like what you read about tech companies in the Blacksburg, Virginia area?  Rackspace Email and Apps has openings for developers.

***

Managed hosting, cloud hosting, and email hostingThe Rackspace Tech Showcase is sponsored by Rackspace (R) HostingRackspace Email and Apps is a division of Rackspace located in Blacksburg, Virginia. 

About Rackspace
As the leader and specialist in hosting services, Rackspace(R) Hosting is changing the way businesses worldwide buy IT. Rackspace delivers computing-as-a-service, integrating the industry's best technologies into a flexible service offering, making computing more reliable and affordable. A trusted partner to companies of all sizes, Rackspace enables IT departments to be more effective. Rackspace is distinguished by its award-winning Fanatical Support(R), furthering the company's mission to be one of the world's greatest service companies. Rackspace is recognized as one of FORTUNE Magazine's 100 Best companies to work for in the US, ranking number 43 on the list. Rackspace's portfolio of hosted IT services includes managed hosting (www.rackspace.com), email hosting (www.rackspace.com/apps) and cloud hosting (www.mosso.com). For more information on Rackspace Hosting, please visit www.rackspace.com.