Uncommon voices

You might have to intentionally look beneath all the rethinking, reimagining, frustration, and setbacks of 2018 to see progress, but it was there. The sparks of progress were lit, and kept burning, by some uncommon folks.

"Not every great idea generator creating a billion-dollar company will be what society says they'll look like. You can't check boxes when it comes to innovation."

The Grooming Project, 1 in a Million, 1 Million Cups

"I love being an entrepreneur, and the only reason I have success at all is because of a dozen strangers that took me on as their mentee. Now I can pay it forward."

William Thomas, co-founder of MORTAR

"I believe we will not only be able to better more entrepreneurs in Cincinnati, but we are also building the foundation to support more minority entrepreneurs across the country."

What does it take to be uncommon?

"Uncommon is not a huge, multi-lateral collection of policies, initiatives, and legislation. It is the smallest act. Moment of interaction. Expression of courtesy. Gift of opportunity. Support of equity. Those collective uncommon acts from uncommon people will make all the difference."

Pauly Ramirez, 7QUBES, An Entrepreneurial Learning Curve

"There's not a lot of women who pitch... Latina women who pitch... LGBT women who pitch. Making that jump was hard for me to actually be confident enough to pitch to someone and say, like, 'Hey, this is who I am.' It took a lot of mentoring with different people... that's kind of when it all switched: 'I am an entrepreneur. I can do this.'"

Shelly Bell, Black Girl Ventures

"Consider 'hyping it up' as allies advocating in every room. Consider 'hyping it up' as completely overwhelming the existing biases with a mainstay of normalcy that flips skepticism into excitement. #thatshype"

Weave Got Maille, Edie Hamstad, rural entrepreneurship

"You know you have the right people handling things when in 45 minutes over pizza you can talk about a world issue, come up with a way to help, and start a new company all at once. How can you not be excited about a team like that?"

You can't make someone woke, but you can make them uncomfortable in their sleep.

Christopher Emdin, Hip Hop Ed

Ross Baird, Village Capital, testimony

To fuel startups, and the U.S. startup rate, founders need access to a variety of funding opportunities.

43% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or a child of immigrants

"As policymakers grapple with these difficult questions, two critical realities are too often forgotten amid the haze of fractious political debate — the connection between entrepreneurship and economic prosperity, and the importance of immigrants to American entrepreneurship."

Kelsey Hampton at the Entrepreneurship Policy Network meeting

"Entrepreneurship is urgent. The state must take a new approach to innovation and economic development. Lawmakers saw this need, and the Innovation Caucus was created."

Miriam Rivera, Ulu Ventures and Kauffman Foundation board member

"Diverse teams tend to be more effective, more profitable, and more likely to outperform less diverse organizations because their backgrounds give them a wider array of tools and talent. On the frontier of disruptive technologies, our diversity as a nation remains critical in giving us distinct advantages in the global marketplace."

Rethink Ed 2018 | Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

"If I were to totally rework education from the ground up, I would, from the very beginning, encourage this air of collaboration – learn to communicate, color outside the lines, facilitate curiosity, and draw from your resources. From a very early age, I would teach tolerance and acceptance."

Cle Ross, MLB Kansas City Urban Youth Academy

“Baseball is the one sport that really reflects life. In baseball, you fail 70 percent of the time, and if you can be successful 30 percent of the time, you're a Hall of Famer. That's kind of how life is, you're gonna fail a lot in life, but if you can overcome failure, you can overcome adversity, you can do anything.”