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Commentary & Insights on Entrepreneurship The Top of Mind blog brings an array of editorial views to current events shaping the world of entrepreneurship. Engage, exchange, and expand your own view of the world!

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Can Startups Save A City?

Anyone interested in entrepreneurship who has been to Pittsburgh has likely seen the renaissance in the city's East Liberty neighborhood. Known as Bakery Square, the area was once home to a large Nabisco factory and now offices some of the best and the brightest who work for the high-tech behemoth known as Google.

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Posted by: Amanda Schnieders
on April 16, 2014
MINDDRIVE Teaches Kids To Build Electric Cars…From Scratch

The whir and high-pitched screech draw my ear, but the flashing specks of bright light shooting up from a work station across the garage force me to look away. The mentor and student working around the station do not flinch. They're both used to all the excitement by now. MINDDRIVE has become their second home on Saturdays, as it has to all the other mentors and students participating in the program that teaches kids how to build cars--from scratch.

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Posted by: Amanda Schnieders
on April 08, 2014
Top of Mind's Must-Read Articles in Entrepreneurship

As a father of three who's just begun the life stage where my children start matriculating off to college, I find myself drawn to news about all things higher academia. I've also done my fair share of weighing in on our country's state of higher education, from reconsidering its worth due to rising tuition costs to giving advice to high school graduates grappling with their many options for the next phase of life.

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Posted by: Thom Ruhe
on April 02, 2014
Out of Necessity: Coining Intrapreneurship

It was a thrill for me last summer when I had the chance to sit down with best-selling author, entrepreneur and teacher, Gifford Pinchot III. For someone like me who has been an entrepreneur and who now works at the foundation for entrepreneurs, to meet the legend who actually coined the term "intrapreneurship" was a real treat. During our visit, I had the chance to ask Gifford about the motivation that led to the publishing of his best-selling book, Intrapreneuring: Why You Don't Have to Leave the Corporation to Become an Entrepreneur, in 1985.

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Posted by: Thom Ruhe
on March 11, 2014
Handling the Stresses When Two Work, But Only One Earns

When a startup first begins, cash flow is non-existent. And it can often fall on the entrepreneur's spouse to help provide for the family while the startup gets on its feet. This can cause a number of challenges, as you can imagine. Recently, I revisited Meg Cadoux Hirshberg's Founders School series, looking to the module "When the Breadwinner Gets Crusty". Meg is an author featured regularly on Inc.com, whose writing focuses on the trials and tribulations a family encounters when one of the members jumps into founding a business.

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Posted by: Annette Beck
on March 07, 2014
Founders School: Surviving the Entrepreneurial Life

When I read Meg Hirshberg's book "For Better or for Work: A Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs and Their Families" I knew instantly that I wanted Meg to join our slate of Founders School experts. The goal of Founders School is to provide entrepreneurs with crucial skills and knowledge, and to do so with an eye to topics that are important but rarely discussed in typical entrepreneurship education programs. The subject of Meg's book is just such a topic. We all know that entrepreneurs have to juggle a variety of considerations when founding a company: team building, assessment of product/market fit, intellectual property, and how to get that first important customer. What many entrepreneurs and, more importantly, their families, know is that there's a juggle on the family side of the equation as well, but it's one that many entrepreneurs may be reluctant to talk about.

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Posted by: Wendy Torrance
on February 26, 2014
Top of Mind's 5 Must-Read Articles in Entrepreneurship

Chasing an entrepreneurial dream can be an all-consuming effort. Particularly in those crucial early days of a startup, founders seem to eat, sleep and breathe their businesses. This naturally occurring tunnel vision has a purpose, of course, allowing entrepreneurs to give their business babies the time and attention they need to mature. But this heads-down mode is not without its drawbacks, one of which is neglecting to stay up on current events--particularly the happenings that can impact the entrepreneurs who are inadvertently paying no attention to them.

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Posted by: Thom Ruhe
on February 18, 2014
How Your Children's Summer Camps Are Affecting Their Career Opportunities

As a father of three, I vividly remember those chilly, early-summer mornings of packing bags, loading up the car, and waving a sad goodbye as my children began their latest adventure at the summer camp of choosing. And there were plenty of those mornings over the course of 18 years. There was volleyball camp, and Science Olympiad clinics, and lacrosse camp.

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Posted by: Thom Ruhe
on January 17, 2014
How People-Problems Can Confound Early Stage Ventures

Some of the very first decisions founders must make early on in their ventures are crucially important to the future of the business. Many of these decisions concern the ubiquitous "people problems" that challenge even experienced entrepreneurs. When should I found? Should I co-found with someone? With whom? How should we split the equity? Bad or ill-informed choices at critical junctures could have significant consequences for startups. In fact, research has suggested that 65 percent of new firm failures were related to problems within the management team.

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Posted by: Wendy Torrance
on December 13, 2013
Reverse Pitch Connects Corporations With Entrepreneurs

Something extraordinary happened in Kansas City last Thursday. For the second year in a row, some of Kansas City's largest organizations participated in a reverse pitch. KCNext, the host and organizer, brought in a capacity crowd of over 200 entrepreneurs and other Global Entrepreneurship Week event participants. There were 65 events in Kansas City spread across a week and a half. But this event was different. This one was special.

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Posted by: Nathan Kurtz
on November 25, 2013

Twitter Updates

  • .@TheRoasterie's Danny O'Neil talks about differentiating himself in the coffee market http://t.co/I1itBj3OeA in @KhanAcademy series.
  • 24 of top 50 venture-backed companies in America in 2011 had at least one foreign-born founder http://t.co/R8xeEEoQ3A
  • RT @kauffmanfs Stretch your literary legs - See "Who's Doing the Learning?" & other readings 4 Building Your Startup http://t.co/RH9PClBLqt
  • .@Virtual_EA's Lakeshia Grant encourages would-be entrepreneurs to incorporate core values into business http://t.co/tcuUOkTT7p @KhanAcademy
  • Getting caffeinated with coffee startup @Beander_ http://t.co/9p28IQegoR via @1MillionCups