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Feb 1, 2022

Sixth Annual Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Conference Highlights ‘Tough Issues’ Facing Industry

The Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise’s sixth annual Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Conference on Jan. 27 kicked off the new year by covering some of the biggest topics facing the industry today.

Kenan Institute Executive Director Greg Brown said this year’s theme – exploring emerging trends to advance entrepreneurship in an uncertain world – focused on identifying “broader societal impacts of entrepreneurship,” as well as “the tough issues” that affect everyone, from human capital to climate change.

During the one-day virtual event, industry leaders and professors from the U.S. and abroad came together over Zoom to discuss trends and challenges facing the entrepreneurship industry today, including entrepreneurial ecosystems, funding and America’s untapped assets.

The conference featured several keynote speakers, including Oxford University Professor Tim Jenkinson, who kicked off the conference by presenting his new research on venture capital contracts. Additional speakers included Forward Cities President and CEO Fay Horwitt and Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Vice President of Entrepreneurship Philip Gaskin.

Authors who contributed to the 2022 Trends in Entrepreneurship Report – which is now available to download – also presented their findings during a lightning round of sessions, touching on topics ranging from job searching challenges after pursuing entrepreneurship to assessing diversity and performance of entrepreneurial teams.

To wrap up the conference, Energy Ventures Executive Managing Director and Technology Lead Eric Toone, MIT Professor Jacquelyn Pless and Kenan Institute Chief Economist Gerald Cohen debated whether entrepreneurs can help save the planet.

Throughout the panel, the experts discussed whether the role of government in fostering innovation and what makes a good entrepreneur tick.

Originally scheduled to take place at The Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, the conference moved to a condensed virtual mode following the surge of COVID-19 cases across the country.

While Brown said it was disappointing the group could not gather in person this year, the institute plans to host additional virtual sessions in February with several speakers who were originally scheduled to present in person.

Nearpod Co-founder Emi Abramzon will kick off these virtual sessions with a fireside chat on Feb. 9, followed by additional discussions on funding and building equitable startup and venture ecosystems on Feb. 23 and 24. Additional information for these sessions will be provided here.

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