Bloomberg Government: Innovators and Entrepreneurs in the New Normal Economy

Last Monday, December 9th, Portuguese Ambassador to the US, Honorable H.E. Nuno Brito, opened the evening with this reminder: “A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds. ”

Bloomberg Government hosted the evening’s panel discussion on “Innovators and entrepreneurs in the new normal economy.”

Portugal’s Minister of Economy, Honorable Antonia Pires de Lima, opened with a few remarks on the Republic of Portugal being ripe for investment while the evening was generously sponsored by AICEP Portugal Global. Here are highlights from the panelists and followup Q&A on lessons learned from entrepreneurship.

Sergio Fernandez de Cordova, Chairman and Co-Founder of P3GM, shared his experiences leveraging media and public-private partnerships for social impact. Having previously met with President Obama, Sergio says his interest in entrepreneurship goes hand in hand with creating changes that impact policy. His advice to entrepreneurs is to remember adaptability, as an entrepreneur takes on multiple jobs throughout a lifetime nowadays. He advises to learn to temper your ego and fail and rebuild and start again.

Michael DeFranco, Founder of Lua Technologies, spoke about building a productivity tool for communications systems for the mobile workforce. His key advice to budding entrepreneurs is ‘solve a problem.’ Growing up learning from his parents in enterprise inspired him to be in full control of his time and freedom. Michael’s advice for an entrepreneur is to ‘follow the real pain point.’ Get outside and ask people if they will use this product, if they are willing to pay for it, both customers and investors. And don’t be afraid of chucking out an idea, he says, as the only secret sauce is listening. “Remember you’re sacrificing your sanity, your time. You only need a place to sleep, food to eat, and to remember to surround yourself with people who support you to start your own company.”

Jon Oringer, Founder and CEO of Shutterstock, is the leader in stock media, selling three images per second to businesses across 150 countries. Jon admitted to having started ten companies before Shutterstock citing the ability to fail as ‘key to succeeding.’ Jon also doubted he ever wanted a job which was a catalyst into entrepreneurship.

Robert Kahn is a Senior Fellow for International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations. Robert cited The Jobs Act as a great example of a feat that Washington accomplished, now allowing investors to gain equity stake in a startup venture.

Kay Koplovitz, Founder of USA Network, Koplovitz & Co., and Springboard Enterprises, heads up a national organization that fosters investments in venture capital in women-led high-growth companies. Kay’s advice on entrepreneurship is that it has nothing to do with book learning. “You need to get out there,” she says, “Get your hands dirty, try it.” Her thoughts on the startup space is that now there is more access to capital, and more access to educational resources. She notes, “It’s about having an open-minded attitude for fast growth. I talk to 20 people from different countries a day.” Kate spoke of a very interesting change in the economy, giving rise to local bakeries and small businesses. A lot of things that people innovate start from little ideas, products, add-ons, rather than full blown companies.”

Here’s to learning from modern day trailblazers. The evening discussion was moderated by Bloomberg Television and Radio Anchor, Pimm Fox.