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In 1996, the Morino Institute started the Netpreneur Program as a learning community for entrepreneurs and their stakeholders. Since then, Netpreneur touched thousands of people, launched many initiatives, and helped hundreds of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses in Greater Washington and around the world.
What made Netpreneur unique was how this community of entrepreneurs, investors, experts, business leaders, and others came together to support, inform, and assist each other. As the Morino Institute sunsets its direct involvement in Netpreneur to focus on a new model for venture philanthropy, many of these entrepreneurs have come together to assume direct responsibility for continuing Netpreneur’s services.
We are pleased to announce that Netpreneur will live on, in a new form conceived, delivered, and managed by entrepreneurs.
Recently, a group of early stage entrepreneurs came forward with a vision for sustaining and growing this community in an organic, loosely structured, network of volunteers. After months of planning and collaboration, the first step in making that vision a reality came on March 26, when the Netpreneur Exchange website was physically moved for hosting by Network Alliance, one of the startups in that group of entrepreneurs that has gained value from the community and is now ready to give something back. Other aspects of Netpreneur are being shaped by or migrated to entrepreneurs in the group, including Develements, Interfolio, Lighthouse Consulting, MailerMailer, Parature, and a growing number of others who will provide a foundation for the future.
Originally built for entrepreneurs, Netpreneur is now run by entrepreneurs as well. And while key components and services, like the website and events are still here, their formats will evolve and expand to reflect this new stage of growth and the continued input of entrepreneurs like you.
The Morino Institute
strongly supports the intent and efforts of this group
and encourages all entrepreneurs who have found value
in this community to join with them in this effort.
There’s plenty to do, and plenty of new ideas for you to
pursue as volunteers, as leaders, as partners. As a
what does the future hold?
1. What is Netpreneur’s mission now?
Netpreneur’s vision for the future grows from its success in the past: To help Greater Washington’s entrepreneurs build sustainable companies by supporting and connecting them in a network that works for the good of the community.
To accomplish that, our mission remains to: connect, communicate, and collaborate. That’s the best way for entrepreneurs to learn from each other, and to collaborate, celebrate, sometimes commiserate together, and to have some fun in the process. As entrepreneurs ourselves, we have used and benefited from the Netpreneur network to reach other entrepreneurs and grow our businesses. We want to continue that environment for ourselves and for future entrepreneurs. We’ll be guided by the following principles as we do so:
It really isn’t. The current mission is simply evolutionary and additive.
established in 1996 as a philanthropic effort of the
Morino Institute. Its founding mission was to provide a
community and point of collaboration for entrepreneurs
who were building products for and on the Internet. That
mission quickly grew as Netpreneur became a broader
network of technology entrepreneurs of all types,
stages, and industries. Even though the audience and
activities evolved over
the years, the community remained comprised of
entrepreneurs who were drawn to an unbiased community of
their peers, as well as experienced leaders who sought
to give something back to the community that had helped
them grow and mature. What differs most, now, is that
the people who were served by Netpreneur, the
entrepreneurs, now lead and shape it as well.
3. What value does Netpreneur provide?
Netpreneur is important and valuable to entrepreneurs and the surrounding community for a number of reasons.
4. How will Netpreneur be managed and who will manage it?
Netpreneur is an organization created by, for, and run by entrepreneurs. These individuals are actively engaged in their own businesses, but they also volunteer their time, resources, or services. They bring the same passion to Netpreneur that they do to their own businesses, but the work of managing and producing Netpreneur is spread across the community.
Netpreneur is directed and managed at a global level by a Leadership Board made up of a small group of entrepreneurs. Day-to-day execution of programs and services is done by a much larger group of entrepreneurs called the Entrepreneurial Service Corps. Broadly, here’s how it works:
The two groups are
guided by Netpreneur’s entrepreneurial audience, as well
as by leaders, experts, and advisors tapped from within
the larger community to, among other goals,
provide a point of reference perspective, to act as a
source of knowledge and content, and to facilitate
access to people and resources. Mario Morino remains
engaged with Netpreneur as one of these highly valued
5. Will Mario Morino still be funding Netpreneur?
gratitude to Mario for his financial support over the
past six years cannot be overstated. Because of support
and the freedom that commitment provided, Netpreneur has grown a base
strong enough that it can now operate completely in the
hands of the entrepreneur community. The truest
reflection of the value and return of Mario’s investment
is the ability of these entrepreneurs to assume the
reins of the
6. Then how will Netpreneur be funded?
Netpreneur’s resources, ranging from their time to
software, products, and services. For the foreseeable
future, Netpreneur will not be endowed or otherwise
capitalized. It may seek sponsorship or grants for
individual programs from time-to-time, but the team
intends to maintain autonomy from other parts of the
business and financial communities in order to continue
providing the objective forums it has been known for
since its inception.
7. As Netpreneur grows, how will it evolve or change from its current form?
In the short-term, Netpreneur and its programs will appear, from the outside, much as they have to date. Initially, most changes will take place behind the scenes, such as in the technology infrastructure and administration. Some of these changes will soon be reflected in the look, feel, and operation of Netpreneur’s current offerings. Over time, and driven by the needs of entrepreneurs, we will consider new programs, content expansion, new forums, and modifications of existing programs. As always, Netpreneur will proactively seek out the needs of entrepreneurs and rise to meet them.