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Six Reasons It’s a Great Time To Be An Entrepreneur

By Alex Day

I have spent my entire career working in entrepreneurial companies and I truly believe that the environment has never been better to be an entrepreneur.  Below are some of the reasons I think this is so.


1.  Technology allows access to tools that were unavailable 10 years ago- Technology has advanced so much over the past 10 years and much of that advancement presents great benefits to the entrepreneur.  Today, when beginning a small company, you can run services and tools that would only be available to a large company, and entrepreneurs are doing it incredibly cost effectively. An entrepreneur can have storage, operate with an Exchange Server, have deployed Sharepoint plus have access to the entire Adobe Creative Suite.  These are all tools that, at the best, were very expensive for a startup and at the worst, were just not available.  Having access to these tools now allows a one-week old company to look like a Fortune 500 company.  It's a good time to be an entrepreneur.


2.  Easier to access potential customers- When I was growing up, there were limited routes to communicating to potential customers.  We had direct mail, print, radio and television (and only three channels on the TV).  All of these outlets were expensive and, outside of direct mail, it was next to impossible to assess their effectiveness.  Today we have a multitude of means to access customers.  Social media and the internet have completely changed the playing field.  A small company can now produce a high-quality video commercial and target it to the potential customers.  Fifteen years ago, the video production costs alone would price a small company out of this.  Social media has completely democratized the ability to reach customers.  If you have a product that people are excited about, you can get the word out to them with minimal costs.  It's a good time to be an entrepreneur.


3.  Easy to prototype- If you have an idea that is not a software product, today is a GREAT day to be an entrepreneur.  In the past the cost and effort to prototype real world products was very expensive and time consuming.  Today there are two major factors which have dramatically lowered the cost of entry.  The first is 3D printing.  With 3D printing it is possible to create prototypes for a very small investment.  The second major factor is the globalization of accessing markets with the internet.  You can now identify sources from around the world that can help you develop your prototype.  It's a good time to be an entrepreneur.


4.  It is easier to get funded- Don't walk away from here thinking that it is...   continue reading    

THE SHELTOWEE BUSINESS NETWORK in conjunction with the SHELTOWEE VENTURE FUND is a member driven-network that helps entrepreneurs start and build businesses.

Our Core Values are:
1. Help others
2. Always act in a kind, ethical and transparent fashion
3. Honor those who assume the risk
4. Expect a financial return from your interactions

Become a member of the network!  Go to:

Why SBN and ACG Are Forming an Alliance Now

By Dawn Yankeelov

The Louisville-based Sheltowee Business Network (SBN) with its four active nodes, and The Angel Capital Group (ACG) with its 10 angel capital chapters headquartered in Knoxville, TN, have formed an alliance. Together the two organizations intend to assist in building the entrepreneurial ecosystems outside Silicon Valley, Boston and New York in very specific pathways for angels and startups. 

“The first priority is to raise operational capital opening the Sheltowee Venture Fund for investments in area startups,” explained Eric Dobson, CEO of ACG.  His organization has both a for-profit and a not-for-profit arm that also accepts grant funding, including the Appalachian Investors Alliance (AIA). His organization has about 200 active investors over 10 states--Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia.  The investors of ACG have four documented 10x-multiple exits with investments over all in 147 companies, including Facebook over the last 11 years. 

Currently SBN has four launched nodes (also known as chapters), which include Louisville, KY; Lexington, KY; Evansville, IN and Cincinnati, OH.  The network is open to all angel investors, mentors, entrepreneurs, experts and explorers via a membership value proposition that includes regular meetups, training and a venture fund application process.

With SBN, the ACG network hopes to:

  • Develop an IP approach that addresses how to attract and educate active angel investors, which means new investor recruitment
  • Use its 12+ years of experience to assist in pre-seed through Series B for follow-on capital
  • Complete on the first SBN $20 Million Venture Fund so that investments are made this year in area startups via SBN membership participation and training
  • Identify cross-fertilization opportunities and a hands-on inventory approach to assets and people of both networks

“The Silicon Valley model does not work for the flyover states,” he added.  “We don’t have the density of capital, and so we are centered on deal flow, meaning syndication.  In the Midwest, we have to be more......   continue reading    

Aug. 7, Venture Connectors Monthly luncheon, “Winning Big at Fintech: Carla Dearing” Noon, Muhammed Ali Center, 6th Fl., 144 N. Sixth St. To learn how to become a member and register, go to:
Aug. 7, Techstars Founders Series: Joey Rivera Shares His Founders Story 6 to 7:30 PM. Story Louisville, 900 E. Main St. Free.
Aug. 7, Founder Beers, Founders getting together 7 to 9 PM. Sergio World of Beers. 1605 Story Ave. Organizer: Steven Plappert-- No cost to attend.
Aug. 15, Sheltowee Business Network Louisville Meeting 3 to 5 PM. All business professionals welcome. Membership required after 2 general meetings. Meeting location: iHub Co-working space, 204 S. Floyd St, Louisville. Register at
Aug. 22-23, Techfest Louisville 900 E. Main St. with tradeshow at Akasha Brewery (909 E Market St #700) both days. A two-day all-day tech conference for all area business professionals and startup owners, exploring the areas of blockchain, artificial intelligence, internet of things, healthcare IT and cybersecurity. This is an event of the Technology Association of Louisville Kentucky, the area’s tech council. See the full schedule and buy tickets at: $99/day. Inquire via dawny@talklou.comn for group discounts over 4.
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Top Five Ways to get Deselected for Investment in the First 15 Minutes

 By Eric Dobson

Entrepreneurs and investors are constantly misunderstanding each other. Entrepreneurs are passionate and want to succeed. Investors want to invest in and work with successful, exciting people and companies. But, the two are not speaking the same language. So, investors are left with the impression that entrepreneurs are unfocused dreamers and entrepreneurs are left with the impression that investors are condescending and sanctimonious.

The reality is an entrepreneur has 30 seconds (thus the need for a very tight, well-crafted, and well-rehearsed elevator pitch) to convince an investor to spend 15 minutes focused on their venture. After that first 15 minutes, the investor will dismiss the deal or elect to spend another two to four hours doing a deeper dive. And, the hurdle that must be crossed in this 15-minute window is for the investor to like the...   continue reading    

What is Due Diligence and why should an entrepreneur care?

By J. R. Rose


Due Diligence, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary is defined as:

Research and analysis of a company or organization done in preparation for a business transaction.” 


In this case, it is the research and analysis of entrepreneurs and their early stage companies in preparation of an angel investor opening up their checkbook , giving you money, and becoming an owner of your startup dream.  Kicking the tires so to speak or maybe dating before getting married (cutting a check).


The Due Diligence process will quickly become serious dating with a pre-nep agreement before it is all over.  The angel investor will become a part owner of your company and before they do that they are going to want to know almost as much as you do about it and the team behind it.  Due Diligence is NOT a 10,000 foot flyover of your company but a deep-dive down in the weeds to review and analyze.  They will be searching for reasons why to invest along with any and all the risks which may be associated with an investment in your company.  They will be looking closely at you and your team to determine if it is a good fit with what they are looking for in an investment.


That being said, you’ll need to open up your books to them.  Share your inception-to-date successes AND failures and any pivots you’ve made and why.  This deep dive by potential investors typically includes reviewing and understanding...   continue reading    

Techfest Louisville 2019 Featuring the Area’s Hot Entrepreneurs, a Biennial Event of TALK, the Area’s Tech Council, Will Be Held on Aug. 22nd & Aug. 23rd


By Dawn Yankeelov


Techfest Louisville 2019, is the 3rd biennial event of TALK, the Technology Association of Louisville Kentucky and will be held on Aug. 22nd and Aug. 23rd for business professionals, with additional special youth STEAM events.


The conference’s key focus areas are:  blockchain, cybersecurity, internet of things, healthcare IT, and artificial intelligence. The event’s premiere sponsors are V-Soft Consulting and its V-Soft Labs.  Other key sponsors (to date) include:  Avertium (formerly Sword & Shield Security); Frost, Brown & Todd; Dean, Dorton, Allen & Ford; Tek Systems; Cybereason; Fletcher Data Consulting; Ice Miller Legal Counsel; Bytespeed, CloudNexus, and Aspectx. 


Area entrepreneurs presenting include:  GARY BOUCH, Founder, Oxinas Partners Wealth Management, “Investment Trends: What We Are Seeing in Tech;” BRYAN PERDUE, Founder, Ibex Software, “Low Code That Can Work for Multiple Applications...   continue reading