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Victor Hwang speech at State of Entrepreneurship

Why take the leap?

For Victor Hwang, moving to the Midwest has been a thrilling and welcome adventure.

They say 2016 was a year of change. For me, this was especially true.

Ten months ago, after nearly a decade in Silicon Valley, I packed up with my family our assorted belongings, realizing too late that half of our stuff apparently consisted of toys. We moved from the western edge to the heart of America, literally from the end of the frontier to its beginning. We now live just steps away from the original California Trail in Kansas City, where I serve as Vice President of Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation. It’s been a thrilling and welcome adventure.

Why did I do it, many people have asked? Why take the leap? The answer is easy. I consider Kauffman one of the most important institutions in the world. When offered the chance to lead its entrepreneurship work, I had to come.

To me, Kauffman is more than a foundation, it’s a steward of the new economy. If you believe that entrepreneurs are the main force driving our economic well-being, which I do, then Kauffman has been the epicenter. It has empowered and supported so many high-impact initiatives for entrepreneurs over the years. Just to name a few: the JOBS Act (legalizing equity crowdfunding), Global Entrepreneurship Week (16,000 organizations celebrating in 160+ countries), Startup Weekend (193,000 alumni), AngelList (over $163 million raised for startups in 2015), and Entrepreneurs’ Organization (12,000+ entrepreneurs in 50 countries). And there’s so much more.

Kauffman transcends any individual or group, business or trend, or politics of the moment. With an endowment that will probably last for centuries, Kauffman can lead and invest for the greater good by advancing entrepreneurship and education, without bias, fear, or short-termism. It’s heady work, and humbling.

This is an abridged version of Victor’s original post. Read the rest on LinkedIn.


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