Sunday, May 07, 2006

Notes from Venture 06: It's all about the entrepreneurs

Venture 2006, held last week, was the Council for Entrepreneurial Development's 23rd annual venture conference. For 20 years, Monica Doss has been President of CED, which is in Research Triangle Park and is one of the most successful entrepreneurial development organizations in the world.

The sound bite that stuck most with me was something Monica said to me as soon as I go there, "It's all about the entrepreneurs." She was talking not only about the conference itself, but the guiding principal for the future development of the CED. While clearly rooted in RTP, Monica emphasized that entrepreneurs were seeking resources and relationships outside the region and CED will help them.

The emphasis on entrepreneurs was reinforced throughout the conference. There was a very impressive Marquee Panel discussion, including:

  • Steve Nelson, Managing Director & Partner, Wakefield Group

  • John McConnell, Chief Executive Officer, A4 Health Systems

  • Stephen Pierce, Head of Equity Capital Markets for the Americas, Goldman, Sachs & Co. New York

  • Harry Weller, Partner, New Enterprise Associates

  • Ryan Wuerch, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Motricity
  • There were plenty of investors at the conference, 225 all looking for companies to invest in. Money wasn't the problem. The panelists made it very clear that the rarest element is proven entrepreneurs with a successful track record of having grown companies and made money for investors before.

    Finding, developing and nurturing proven entrepreneurs is what Monica is most focused on, and the rest of us should focus on it intensely too.

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