Prosperous economies have steady streams of companies starting up and growing. Especially vital are the high-growth firms that market innovative technologies, products, and business models. These companies create the rags-to-riches path that has come to be known as the American Dream.
“President Obama and I both know that one of America’s greatest strengths is our entrepreneurial spirit,” said Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker. “Our creativity, willingness to take risks, and ability to learn from failure has helped us build a strong, innovative, and competitive economy.”
Certainly laws, policies, support systems, and cultural mores — not to mention individual motivations — all play a part in creating successful entrepreneurs. So do role models. “You can’t be what you can’t see,” said Marie Wilson, founder and president emeritus of the White House Project.
“The Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship [PAGE] are some of America’s most dynamic and successful businesspeople,” said Pritzker. “Our PAGE Ambassadors will work to educate and inspire bright minds across the United States and around the world, helping them find pathways to start their own businesses, leading to greater peace, prosperity, and progress.”
Get to know Nina Vaca
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For many entrepreneurial initiatives, you have to use a magnifying glass to see the percentage of women participating. Not so for PAGE!
Five of 11 are women.
- Tory Burch, chief executive officer of Tory Burch and founder of Tory Burch Foundation
- Helen Greiner, founder and CEOof CyPhy Works and co-founder of iRobot Corporation
- Daphne Koller, co-founder and President of Coursera
- Nina Vaca founder and CEO of Pinnacle Technical Resources
- Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest
“As a business leader and entrepreneur for 27 years, I was often in boardrooms with very few women,” said Pritzker. “Now as chair of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, I am thrilled that so many of the bright and talented minds around the table are female.”
High-growth, women-led businesses is an underperforming segment of the small business sector. Too many talented women don’t pursue high-growth entrepreneurship because they don’t realize that it’s a viable, exciting, meaningful career choice for women. Showcasing successful female entrepreneurs will inspire other ambitious and talented women to take the entrepreneurial plunge. The stories of these women will inspire aspiring entrepreneurs and the lessons the women learned on the way will make the road easier.
“As President Obama said in his State of the Union address, ‘When women succeed, America succeeds,’” said Pritzker. “At the Department of Commerce, we are committed to strengthening the role of women in business, and encouraging successful women to serve as role models for the next generation. I hope the women of PAGE will inspire girls all over the country and the world to dream big and to turn their dreams into successful careers and companies.”
“By collaborating and sharing our collective experiences and know-how, we hope to ensure that our future entrepreneurs and job creators are ready for the challenges that await them,” said Vaca. “It really is an exciting time, and it has never been more imperative for a committee like this to exist.”
I’ll be writing more about Vaca in a book about the tactics 10 women entrepreneurs are using to build high-growth enterprises. She is a dynamo and is a woman worth watching.