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Over the past month, Jodi Paci and Amanda Weathersby of the QA Company LLC have been working towards interviewing 100 Entrepreneurs to gain wisdom and insight that will help create ideas and opportunities for wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital.  To date 31 interviews have been completed with 29 pending.

Below, you will see a sample of the highlights from their project; capturing and documenting all highlights before they are done.  Jodi and Amanda believe the nuggets of business wisdom gleaned from these entrepreneurs will help start new businesses around the country when the men and women who have been wounded in service to our country have recovered and are ready to create their futures.

If you would like to participate in this project, have questions, ideas or opportunities for introductions to additional entrepreneurs please contact Jodi and Amanda:

Amanda Weathersby and Jodi Paci
(866) 921-1913
aweathersby@qacompany.com
jpaci@qacompany.com

Interview Highlights
A Sampling

The highlights from the interviews conducted to date are so plentiful, they will easily make up an entire course at Walter Reed!  Jodi and Amanda will share as many highlights as possible with their project supporters as the project unfolds.

Comments from Jodi and Amanda:
Did you know that our economy literally depends on start ups for job creation?  One of our entrepreneurs, Tim Kane, now with the Kauffman Foundation, recently published a paper based upon his analysis of US government data compiled by the Census Bureau.  His findings show that in all but seven years, from 1977 to 2005, “new firms add an average of 3 million jobs in their first year, while older companies lose 1 million jobs annually.”  Read more at
http://www.kauffman.org/newsroom/u-s-job-growth-driven-entirely-by-startups.aspx

According to data collected so far in our study, the number one sales tool is networking, which is vital in finding investors, boards of directors, and of course, customers.  The most effective networking is not necessarily large conventions or banquet rooms filled with people.  It may be better to network in smaller, specialized groups and organizations or one-on-one.  Success in the City is just such a networking organization, started by one of our entrepreneurs, Cynthia De Lorenzi.  “Success in the City is by, for and about women business leaders who inspire, desire and deserve a unique social networking experience and the deals that ultimately flow.”  Find out more at
http://www.successinthecity.org

Growth can kill a business!  Uncontrolled growth, that is.  Another consistent theme in the interviews is that you have to watch your numbers, manage costs, and attend to cash flow.  Patrick Baldasare, who built a large market research firm with nearly 2000 employees, was growing a high profit firm until they accelerated growth and lost sight of the bottom line.  He put the brakes on and began to analyze every expenditure.  Will a new computer actually help the company function better, lower costs, improve service, or increase revenue?  He was just in time to right the ship, and built the company with the highest profit margin in the industry, ultimately selling it in an IPO.  Cary Hatch, owner and builder of MDB Communications, an agency with over $20 million in revenue, calls her lessons from economic turmoil, “scars.”  In boom times, growth accelerates, and in bust times you’re left with lower revenue and the same cost structure… unless you play it smart, that is!  Find out more about MDB Communications at
http://www.mdbcomm.com

Next Steps

Bob Nilsson, former President of Turner International, plans to combine the original course and mentoring program with the 100 Entrepreneurs Project for the next semester.  As interviews are completed they will be transcribed, the information entered into their database, and case studies created.  They will analyze the data collected, create highlights by topic area (e.g., marketing vs. legal), and then provide course information for 2011.  Many of the entrepreneurs have agreed to participate in a mentoring program, and as course participants specify interests in various industries, an attempt will be made to create mentoring opportunities for the soldiers with the entrepreneurs.

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