I attended this year’s Western Conservative Summit 2019 (WCS), my third and this time as part of the press corps. Per the WCS press release, “There were over 2,300 attendees from 39 states heard from over 50 speakers, attended over 25 workshops, and visited with over 65 exhibitors. Over 100 media personnel covered the Summit, generating millions of online impressions.” I wondered, of the issues discussed, how many of their topics touched on my focus topic: Entrepreneurship from a Biblical foundation?
As with any conservative conference, there was a mixture of “hot topics” and content discussions and speakers about fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government. Most topics were of a foundational focus, but few had a direct WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) to help me reach for more prosperity.
I found very sparse answers about Biblical entrepreneurship during the recent CHEC Homeschool Conference I attended in June 2019. I had hoped that I wouldn’t see the same results at the WCS, but then again, entrepreneurship was not their focus. But as always, I did not let that deter me from starting discussions about Biblical entrepreneurship with others.
Taking a tour of the WCS exhibitors, it was not unlike the CHEC conference when searching for Biblical entrepreneurial content: Scarce. While nearly all of the exhibitors were about conservative policies, there was little to no discussion about entrepreneurship. Interesting, since the bedrock of our Declaration of Independence discusses, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and not to mention Jesus tells us in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
Not to let this be a deterrent, I spoke up and discussed with others and some of the exhibitors about the topic of entrepreneurship as a “Next Step,” especially with non-profits. “Could you help your clients with a vision that there’s potential for them at the next level: A side gig of entrepreneurship?” We’ve all been taught what to expect from our education: Grade, middle, and high school and then potentially going into higher education. So why don’t we interject the topic of entrepreneurship and growing prosperity into our life discussions, i.e., multiple streams of income to earn more and the subsequent potential to invest, share, then give more?
Discussing and teaching entrepreneurship as a topic in the non-profit community is an entirely foreign concept. Entrepreneurship was not on their minds, let alone any of their organizational mindsets to consider planting the seeds of prosperity into their client’s minds. To help them envision a few steps beyond their current situations onto a brighter horizon of creating wealth.
Many of these non-profit organizations could expand their reach and partner up and collaborate with other “Next Step” organizations much like our educational track of graduating from each grade. These organizations could create partnerships and hand off their clients to others from their current level of care. Talk about mentoring others through their growth in life. Getting them on their path of life to crawl, walk, then run toward prosperity.
This lack of an entrepreneurial mind is a cultural and organizational mindset issue and is evident across ALL of these siloed organizations. They need to get out of the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) as a non-profit and ask themselves the question: WIIFT (What’s In It For Them), their clients. The conference speakers were all good, the workshops were informative, but only one workshop had anything close to my area of concern.
FreedomWorks.org was like the other conservative organizations, “Our members all share three common traits: a desire for less government, lower taxes, and more economic freedom.” Daniel Savickas, Federal Affairs Manager at Freedom Works, spoke on the topic of, “Cutting the Red Tape” of the Federal Register. You can search from among the over 810,000 documents listed online which eventually impact all 329 million of us at the end of the “last mile” from Washington D.C. to our doorsteps.
FreedomWorks’ comment, “For years the Left has won regulatory battles through public comments. That’s why we created our Regulatory Action Center. Come learn how FreedomWorks can help you take the fight to the deep-state bureaucrats!” Only about 10-15 attendees showed up, but they got a glimpse of what is going on in the government halls of Washington D.C., and the less accountable our federal government is to its citizens.
During FreedomWorks’ talk and the Q&A, it’s not uncommon to hear how disconnected government bureaucrats are from the market. But worst of all, Congress politically abdicates its responsibilities with their shoulder “we did our best” shrug to rein in these unelected government officials. It seems Congress is more concerned with the fight in Washington, D.C. than a fix to rein in and prevent unintended consequences in the marketplace with governmental rules. There’s more to come on this subject in a future article.
The WSC theme was religious freedom, but looking into the future, how about an idea of entrepreneurial freedom? With my ears to the entrepreneurial ground, the urban communities are becoming a hotbed of economic interest and efforts. Attending my first WCS as an entrepreneur and author, the cost of a table was $300, and I split it with two other authors—we barely broke even. The price has more than doubled, preventing entrepreneurial participation.
To spur greater interest, have some workshops allowing six entrepreneurs 10 minutes each to share their stories. Focus on why and how they got started and where they are today so they can inspire others. Imagine showcasing at the 2021 WCS these young black teenage entrepreneurs who run Two Bros. in the Kitchen in Texas. They were recently featured on the news about their award-winning baking, baking business, book, and all the while attending school and taking college courses. Talk about inspiring other young teenagers. Now imagine young kids with their parents in tow showing up at a future WCS to hear about this and other entrepreneurial stories. Or better yet, the parents would bring the whole family and their neighborhood to understand how these kids became entrepreneurial success stories.
How about it, Western Conservative Summit? Are you up for this entrepreneurial challenge in 2021 to help all of us to pursue “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” and prosperity through entrepreneurship?