Sequestration lemonade

Good things CAN come from the 2013 budget sequestration.

Last Tuesday night (March 26, 2013), Bill Blevins and I attended the first meeting of FredX (organized by Matt Armstrong and Christine Goodwin (@cag123) – thanks guys!).

From the FredX Facebook page:

FredX is a platform for entrepreneurs and thought leaders to Xchange ideas, create solutions, and stimulate collaboration for building and sustaining a thriving startup ecosystem in the Fredericksburg region.

At this meeting we touched on the fact that a limiting factor in the development of new companies in the region is the dearth of accessible talent and capital.  Paradoxically, sequestration can help the region grow in diverse ways.

A March 18, 2013 blog post at the Harvard Business Review titled, “When Big Companies Fall, Entrepreneurship Rises” makes the point well.  Interesting references:

  • Nokia Bridge program (techcrunch story here):  Nokia (NYSE: NOK) provides startup capital to downsized employees (Each ex-employee gets €25,000 ($30,800) or £20,000 in the UK, and up to four Nokians can come together for a project — a startup could get seed funding of €100,000 !!!)
  • Israeli entrepreneurism skyrocketed after the cancellation of Israel’s Lavi fighter program
  • IBM’s departure from the Indian market in 1977 spawned a wave of BPO-centric entrepreneurs

I think the funding angle of the Nokia Bridge program is fascinating.  I’ll be looking for some of Nokia’s rationale on the expense and what ownership, if any, they take.

Virginia has an substantial dependence on federal spending.  Some 2009 data from Federal Schedules, Inc. shows this clearly.

2009 Federal Contract Awards by State

2009 Federal Contract Awards by State

On a simple percentage basis the effects of sequestration in Virginia will be much more pronounced than in the rest of the country.

While these changes are extremely painful for the businesses that lose revenue and more so for affected employees and their families there is evidence of a silver lining.

As Alexander Graham Bell put it:

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.

There are some interesting (and surprising) technology-related things going on in the Fredericksburg region.  If you are affected by sequestration or know someone who is, think deeply about participating in Startup Weekend Fredericksburg.  It will be a no-brainer networking opportunity and, who knows, maybe you’ll find your next (startup) adventure there!

This entry was posted in Entrepreneurialism, Inspiration, Startups. Bookmark the permalink.

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