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the announcement from 10/22/02:

netpreneur to sunset

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.


read the 

letter from

Mario Morino 

that came

with this

 announcement


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 flourish.

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.

Now, 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
We 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 mary@netpreneur.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 and Contributions
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 Netpreneur mega-events.

Codifying Netpreneur
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 competitiveness.  Our 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 country.

Netpreneur Services
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.
>> netpreneur calendar:  the online database of regional events in Netpreneur Calendar will continue at this site, and the weekly email Calendar will be published into 2003.
>>  discussion groups: AdMarketing, Talk-The-Talk, The Loop, and our opportunity bulletin board, ActionNet, will continue into December.
>> netpreneur 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 potential funders.

Summary
By the end of this calendar year, Netpreneur will formally cease operation of the services as described above.  It 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 mary@netpreneur.org.

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