After more than five years of
serving Greater Washington's entrepreneurs, it was announced that Netpreneur
would sunset at the end of 2002 as the Morino Institute refocused
its attentions on the cause of venture philanthropy and helping
children of low-income families in our region.
On April 23, 1997, Netpreneur
was launched. Its
purpose was to stimulate, support, and help grow entrepreneurship
in the Greater Washington region.
Its method was to cultivate a community of
stakeholders—entrepreneurs, dreamers, angel and venture funders,
and others—who had the shared purpose of seeing entrepreneurs
We were able to do these things
because you, and literally thousands like you, cared enough to get
involved, to be part of monthly Coffee & DoughNets gatherings,
to participate in online discussions, and to serve as speakers, volunteers, hosts, and sponsors. You made Netpreneur what
it has become because you infused the energy and excitement into
everything it has done.
even as we prepare to sunset Netpreneur and as the Netpreneur team members
seek new opportunities, we turn to you once again to carry on its
spirit and purpose, because we continue to believe that
entrepreneurship is alive and well and one of the keys to this
region’s economic future.
Passing the Torch
hope that the work of sustaining our entrepreneurial network goes
on – to keep the connections and information flowing among
entrepreneurs and their stakeholders, provide the online and
offline venues for peer learning and interaction, and keep the
networks active, current, relevant, and open. To this end, Mary
MacPherson and the Netpreneur team have already begun discussions
with local groups and individuals to continue many of Netpreneur's
services beyond our closing.
Mary will lead an effort
through the first quarter of 2003 to work with and advise anyone
interested in carrying on Netpreneur functions. If you would like to play
a role, please email Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org. Updates on our progress will be posted on the Netpreneur
Exchange website, in Netpreneur discussion lists, and through
Netpreneur News, which we will continue publishing into next year.
Saying Thanks and Celebrating Your Achievements
Our signature community “mega-events,” starting with “Barons
of the Beltway” back in June of 1997 and enjoying such high
points as “Angels and Revolutionaries” and
“Garage-to-Gorilla,” have always provided fun venues and been
a special time for the Netpreneur community to come together. It is only fitting that we
have such an event as part of Netpreneur’s sunset. In March, we’ll bring
together the many people who helped create and grow the culture of
entrepreneurship that has arisen in our region, to celebrate what
you’ve achieved and to thank you for all you’ve done for
Netpreneur and the Morino Institute. We’ll call on you to join
us, for we’d love for this to be the mega-event of all
When groups study the growth of entrepreneurship, be it the
National Commission on Entrepreneurship or the Council on
Competitiveness, they arrive at one conclusion: networks of people
coming together, learning from one another, sharing and helping
each other are a remarkable key to entrepreneurial regions. Well, thanks to you, there
are some that study entrepreneurship who believe Netpreneur is the
standard of excellence for others to learn from when it comes to
entrepreneurial networks. We
hope to codify what we’ve learned in our work with Netpreneur
about cultivating and sustaining entrepreneurial networks and host
a symposium in 2003 to present our work and methodology. This event will focus on
the importance of entrepreneurial networks, how they are built,
and their roles in regional economic development and
plan is to invite organizations and leaders who seek to advance
entrepreneurship, small business creation, business incubation,
technology transfer, and regional economic development and share
with them our experience and that of other leading efforts in the
Here on the website, we will post updates and progress as we move
through our transition. For some specific Netpreneur program areas, we can tell you
what we’ve got in the works:
|>> netpreneur news: we'll
continue bringing you updates on our plans and events at
Netpreneur as well as news about the region's entrepreneurial
community in our weekly email newsletter publishing well into the
first quarter of 2003.
online database of regional events in Netpreneur Calendar will
continue at this site, and the weekly email
Calendar will be published into 2003.
Talk-The-Talk, The Loop, and our opportunity bulletin board,
ActionNet, will continue into December.
exchange website: after
the beginning of the year, this website will continue as an
archive of the resources generated by Netpreneur over the years.
You'll be able to return for content such as the videos and
transcripts of Netpreneur events, resource lists, and more.
|>> investor services/funding &
finance: plans are being developed with key organizations for
educational and matching programs for early-stage companies and
By the end of this calendar year, Netpreneur will
formally cease operation of the services as described
is our hope that, by that time, some of these services
will be continued independently by others, and we will
keep you informed of any such developments. We must say,
however, that this path may prove impractical and that
few, or none, of these services will go forward.
For those of you interested in
learning more about how you can help or letting us know of your
interest to carry on Netpreneur services, please send an email to
Mary MacPherson at email@example.com.