Transformation and entrepreneurship go hand in hand. They are both potentially disruptive and frightening. Both fight against the status quo in seeking progress. Both require leadership and the force of will to focus simultaneously on the strategic and tactical imperatives at hand. Transformation can be slow or fast, inclusive or exclusive, incremental or dramatic. The question is whether today’s public and private institutions can do it at a pace that will ignite global economic growth. There is one thing we know for sure: it is the entrepreneurs that will accelerate progress. The entrepreneurs who take the leaps of faith to go “all in” for transformation.
In recalling last year’s annual USSIF conference, Julia Stasch of the MacArthur Foundation was speaking about the need to take an “all in” approach to sustainable and impact investing. She said, “We need to get going before we know everything we need to know to get going.”
No one understands that concept as well as an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs have the vision, mission, strategies and tactics to seize the opportunity to be “all in” for a better world … all in with a purpose. As an entrepreneur, I think there’s no higher purpose than trying to create a more regenerative and inclusive global economy. The financial services sector has to be a part of that vision. In finance, and more broadly in business, there are arguably only two things that don’t ultimately become a commodity … relationships and ideas.
I want to be at a firm, and in a world, where there are loads and loads of both. Entrepreneurs often start small, but we are mighty. This reminds me of another individual who was small but mighty. In 1000 BC, King David is thought to have said: “The first step towards getting somewhere is deciding that you are not going to stay where you are.”
That’s the decision of an entrepreneur. We are small, but we are mighty. WE ARE DAVID.
We are not satisfied with the status quo. We will use every tool at our disposal to fight through the inertia or institutional torpor that stalls the engines of progress. We will leverage all the ideas and relationships to drive the creativity and innovation required to get to a better place. WE ARE DAVID.
At that SIF conference, Julia Stasch referenced the idea that we may very well be in a “Cambrian moment” — a moment when there is an explosion of life and activity. If we free the entrepreneurial spirit that can drive the solutions to the most existential challenges humanity has ever known, she may well be right.
Within the capital markets, we are business people, we are investors, we are financiers; we are entrepreneurs. And especially for the entrepreneurs, we seek to make the impossible possible … WE ARE DAVID.
Erika Karp is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Cornerstone Capital Inc.