VilCap Blog: Village Capital Hosts “A Right to Compete: Are Monopolies Crushing Entrepreneurship?”

A recap of Village Capital and Open Markets Institute’s conference on competition policy in Washington, DC

by Village Capital | October 18, 2018

(WASHINGTON, DC) – On October 11, Village Capital and Open Markets Institute hosted “A Right to Compete: Are Monopolies Crushing Entrepreneurship?” a conference on competition policy and the declining right to compete for entrepreneurs in America.

“The free market works if entrepreneurs are actually free to build businesses. Today that’s not the case,” said Village Capital President Ross Baird, who keynoted the event. “Our Right to Compete gathering was a bipartisan look at the very real policy and capital barriers entrepreneurs face – and how to have a free and open society.”

Highlights from the day are below.

U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ):

“At the root of so many of the challenges we’re facing in America right now– from the stifling of innovation, the stifling of entrepreneurship, wage stagnation, income inequality—all of this is deepening and disturbing because of the incredible concentration of economic and political power in this country. Our very ideals are at stake.”

“Our economy’s open markets have now been replaced by just a few giant corporations, to the benefit of the few and detriment of the freedom of many–wages stagnant, innovation diminished, and entrepreneurship stifled.”

U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA):

“Close to 80% of venture capital is still going to New York, Massachusetts and California. That’s a problem.”

“We need increased competition…The truth is though, we don’t have that. If you look at an app store, eight of the top ten apps and all of the top five apps are all owned by two companies. Even if you have that killer app, your exit is not to take that idea to market. It’s to sell to one of these large enterprise, or else have your IP stolen and a copycat app created.”

Victor Hwang, Vice President of Entrepreneurship, Kauffman Foundation (watch video here):

“Everyone deserves a fair shot. That’s the promise of America. A fair shot means that you should get a level playing field. And that your skin color, zip code, who your parents are, where you went to school, or how much money you started with. A fair shot means you can take an idea, work hard, and turn that idea into wealth, new jobs, and new opportunity. That’s what entrepreneurs do.”

“America has institutionalized a bias toward the big. That bias favors big companies… Our big shiny cities are bigger and shinier than ever, but inequality grows alongside them… Do we measure our economic progress by the Dow Jones Industrial Average, or by the health of small businesses across the country?”

“In the next 5 years, the Kauffman Foundation will support 200,000 entrepreneurs as they grow their businesses, and strengthen 200 entrepreneurial communities.”

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) (watch video here):

“There’s a company in Morgantown that’s working to develop software to help companies like an Alexa run on batteries. They’re very small, but they have been able to grow their idea. It’s the old version of mom and pop. That’s what I think of when I think of an entrepreneur. It’s not necessarily someone who’s tied to large funding sources.”

More photographs can be found here.

The full list of participants included:

  • Ross Baird, President, Village Capital, and author of The Innovation Blind Spot
  • Barry Lynn, Executive Director, Open Markets Institute, and author of Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction
  • Victor Hwang, Vice President of Entrepreneurship, Kauffman Foundation
  • Senator Mark Warner (D-VA)
  • Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)
  • Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
  • Rob Jackson, SEC Commissioner
  • Rana Foroohar, global business columnist, The Financial Times, and author of Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business
  • Jim Tankersley, Tax and Economics Reporter, The New York Times
  • Rodney Foxworth, Jr., Executive Director, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies
  • Stacy Mitchell, Co-Director, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and author of Big Box Swindle
  • Ebony Pope, Director of U.S. Ventures, Village Capital
  • Lillian Salerno, co-founder and former COO of Retractable Technologies, and former Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development, USDA
  • John Lettieri, Co-Founder and President, Economic Innovation Group
  • Mike Callicrate, Owner, Ranch Foods Direct
  • Alex Laskey, President and Founder, OPOWER