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a new era in the netpreneur community ...

  for entrepreneurs...
         now by entrepreneurs

In 1996, the Morino Institute started the Netpreneur Program as a learning community for entrepreneurs and their stakeholders. Since then, Netpreneur touched thousands of people, launched many initiatives, and helped hundreds of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses in Greater Washington and around the world.

What made Netpreneur unique was how this community of entrepreneurs, investors, experts, business leaders, and others came together to support, inform, and assist each other. As the Morino Institute sunsets its direct involvement in Netpreneur to focus on a new model for venture philanthropy, many of these entrepreneurs have come together to assume direct responsibility for continuing Netpreneur’s services. 

We are pleased to announce that Netpreneur will live on, in a new form conceived, delivered, and managed by entrepreneurs.   

Recently, a group of early stage entrepreneurs came forward with a vision for sustaining and growing this community in an organic, loosely structured, network of volunteers. After months of planning and collaboration, the first step in making that vision a reality came on March 26, when the Netpreneur Exchange website was physically moved for hosting by Network Alliance, one of the startups in that group of entrepreneurs that has gained value from the community and is now ready to give something back. Other aspects of Netpreneur are being shaped by or migrated to entrepreneurs in the group, including Develements, Interfolio, Lighthouse Consulting, MailerMailer, Parature, and a growing number of others who will provide a foundation for the future.

how can you play a part?

Volunteers, participants, and leaders are all needed. Contact webmaster@netpreneur.org to be part of the team that takes Netpreneur forward.

Originally built for entrepreneurs, Netpreneur is now run by entrepreneurs as well. And while key components and services, like the website and events are still here, their formats will evolve and expand to reflect this new stage of growth and the continued input of entrepreneurs like you.

The Morino Institute strongly supports the intent and efforts of this group and encourages all entrepreneurs who have found value in this community to join with them in this effort. There’s plenty to do, and plenty of new ideas for you to pursue as volunteers, as leaders, as partners. As a community.
 

what does the future hold?

Fact Sheet:
netpreneur today

Vision: Help entrepreneurs build sustainable companies and a thriving community.

Mission: Connect. Communicate. Collaborate. 

Audience: Tech and telecom entrepreneurs in the Greater Washington Region.

Guiding Principles:

  • Provide unique venues for connecting entrepreneurs.
  • Create forums for collaboration and exchange.
  • Deliver high value services that allow entrepreneurs to communicate what they want, with whom they want, when they want without the noise.
  • Create and attract resources to support sustainable businesses.
  • Maintain an environment of constant evolution.
  • Follow the entrepreneurial spirit to work hard, learn, and have fun.

Organization: Guided by a Leadership Board and managed by a Service Corps, entrepreneurs conceive, manage, and produce the services themselves.

1. What is Netpreneur’s mission now?

Netpreneur’s vision for the future grows from its success in the past: To help Greater Washington’s entrepreneurs build sustainable companies by supporting and connecting them in a network that works for the good of the community.

To accomplish that, our mission remains to: connect, communicate, and collaborate. That’s the best way for entrepreneurs to learn from each other, and to collaborate, celebrate, sometimes commiserate together, and to have some fun in the process. As entrepreneurs ourselves, we have used and benefited from the Netpreneur network to reach other entrepreneurs and grow our businesses. We want to continue that environment for ourselves and for future entrepreneurs. We’ll be guided by the following principles as we do so:

  • Provide entrepreneurs with unique venues, both real and virtual, to connect with each other.
     
  • Create forums to collaborate and exchange between entrepreneurial companies, their leaders and their communities.
     
  • Provide unique and diverse offerings for Netpreneur (the organization) and Netpreneurs (its audience) to communicate what they want, with whom they want, when they want, and without noise.
     
  • Create and attract the information, advice, and resources that enable entrepreneurs to build sustainable businesses.
     
  • Maintain an environment of constant evolution, both for how the organization is managed and how it enables entrepreneurs to connect, collaborate, and communicate.
     
  • Be driven by our entrepreneurial spirit to work hard, learn, and have fun.


2. How is that different from the old Netpreneur?

It really isn’t. The current mission is simply evolutionary and additive.

Netpreneur was established in 1996 as a philanthropic effort of the Morino Institute. Its founding mission was to provide a community and point of collaboration for entrepreneurs who were building products for and on the Internet. That mission quickly grew as Netpreneur became a broader network of technology entrepreneurs of all types, stages, and industries. Even though the audience and activities evolved over the years, the community remained comprised of entrepreneurs who were drawn to an unbiased community of their peers, as well as experienced leaders who sought to give something back to the community that had helped them grow and mature. What differs most, now, is that the people who were served by Netpreneur, the entrepreneurs, now lead and shape it as well.
 

3. What value does Netpreneur provide?

Netpreneur is important and valuable to entrepreneurs and the surrounding community for a number of reasons.

  • It is a truly neutral place where entrepreneurs can connect, communicate, and collaborate with each other on their terms, in their time, and without pressure from other agendas.
     
  • Netpreneur is a source of tools, resources, and advice for growing sustainable businesses.
     
  • Entrepreneurs can engage one another in a variety of formats--virtually or physically, by topic or industry, one-on-one or through groups, events, or exchanges.
     
  • Netpreneur is both a community and a functioning network offering a full breadth of tools, resources, and information to serve entrepreneurs.
     
  • Entrepreneurs shape the format and content of all of Netpreneur activities through direct feedback so that programs directly meet their real needs in realtime.
     
  • Entrepreneurs aren’t just the audience, they have the opportunity to create, manage, deliver, and guide Netpreneur through a Service Corps and a Board.
     
  • The leadership team and the community as a whole are driven by the spirit of successful entrepreneurship and want to provide others with the lessons, support, and guidance that helped them succeed.
     
  • Netpreneur’s services are offered free of charge to the entrepreneurial community, and its management is volunteer. The entrepreneurs contribute the assets.
     
  • The spirit that entrepreneurs inject into their businesses is the same spirit of fun, dedication, and enthusiasm we bring to making Netpreneur valuable to others.
     

4. How will Netpreneur be managed and who will manage it?

Netpreneur is an organization created by, for, and run by entrepreneurs. These individuals are actively engaged in their own businesses, but they also volunteer their time, resources, or services. They bring the same passion to Netpreneur that they do to their own businesses, but the work of managing and producing Netpreneur is spread across the community.

Netpreneur is directed and managed at a global level by a Leadership Board made up of a small group of entrepreneurs. Day-to-day execution of programs and services is done by a much larger group of entrepreneurs called the Entrepreneurial Service Corps. Broadly, here’s how it works: 

  • For guidance and overall structure, the Leadership Board oversees the mission and vision, guides the high level organization, takes responsibility for core decision-making, manages and coordinates activities, and guides the group’s evolution over time. The Board is made up mainly of those entrepreneurs who have individually taken the lead for various key service offerings. (What does that mean? Well, most of the Leadership Board is also part of the Service Corps. So much for executive privilege!).
     
  • The Entrepreneurial Service Corps is a larger group, also made up of entrepreneurs who are interested in supporting or executing specific Netpreneur services. Members of the Corps are responsible for day-to-day management of Netpreneur’s assets, execution of service offerings and the technology that facilitates them, leading other volunteers, managing existing services, and developing new ones. The Corps works closely with the Board, whose members also play roles in the Corps. Typically, one to three entrepreneurs take the lead for a group of related Netpreneur services, with an individual entrepreneur leading each separate program or service. The groups of related services break down along the lines of the mission of Netpreneur – connect, communicate, collaborate.

The two groups are guided by Netpreneur’s entrepreneurial audience, as well as by leaders, experts, and advisors tapped from within the larger community to, among other goals, provide a point of reference perspective, to act as a source of knowledge and content, and to facilitate access to people and resources. Mario Morino remains engaged with Netpreneur as one of these highly valued advisors.
 

5. Will Mario Morino still be funding Netpreneur?

No. Netpreneur’s gratitude to Mario for his financial support over the past six years cannot be overstated. Because of support and the freedom that commitment provided, Netpreneur has grown a base strong enough that it can now operate completely in the hands of the entrepreneur community. The truest reflection of the value and return of Mario’s investment is the ability of these entrepreneurs to assume the reins of the organization.
 

6. Then how will Netpreneur be funded?

Entrepreneurs donate Netpreneur’s resources, ranging from their time to software, products, and services. For the foreseeable future, Netpreneur will not be endowed or otherwise capitalized. It may seek sponsorship or grants for individual programs from time-to-time, but the team intends to maintain autonomy from other parts of the business and financial communities in order to continue providing the objective forums it has been known for since its inception.
 

7. As Netpreneur grows, how will it evolve or change from its current form?

In the short-term, Netpreneur and its programs will appear, from the outside, much as they have to date. Initially, most changes will take place behind the scenes, such as in the technology infrastructure and administration. Some of these changes will soon be reflected in the look, feel, and operation of Netpreneur’s current offerings. Over time, and driven by the needs of entrepreneurs, we will consider new programs, content expansion, new forums, and modifications of existing programs. As always, Netpreneur will proactively seek out the needs of entrepreneurs and rise to meet them.

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