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International Business Breakfast Takes a Closer Look at Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, and the Credit Crunch

Posted February 21, 2009

mattharris22009.gifNeedless to say, the soured economy is negatively affecting startups and the venture capital business, according to Matt Harris, cofounder and managing general partner of Village Ventures. Harris, who spoke at the International Business Breakfast February 17 at Rivers Memorial Hall, said that nonetheless there is still light at the end of the tunnel: “We’re optimistic, but we’re moving slowly, waiting to see how this thing levels out.” View a video excerpt from Harris’ talk.

Harris’ lecture, “Supporting Global Entrepreneurship in Trying Times: Venture Capital and the Credit Crunch,” gave an in-depth look at how he became a venture capitalist how important venture capitalism is to the economy. He asserted that there are lessons that can be learned from how venture capitalists operate that might help the U.S. economy out of its deep recession—namely an emphasis on accountability. Entrepreneurial investing requires one to “think like an owner,” he said.

Likewise, said Harris, “Every company that we invest in gives stock options to everybody in the company. Employees who think like owners are better workers,” and the company has a better chance of succeeding because those who work there have a vested interest in its future.

The current economic crisis, he said, was caused in part by “people making loans who ultimately bore no responsibility for whether or not the loan was paid back. That lack of accountability led to what amounted to trillions of dollars in mortgages that will not be paid back in full.”

The International Business Breakfast Series is designed to educate the student population and members of the local business community about a range of international issues. Each session features one or more successful business leaders offering insight into the challenges and opportunities of global business. The series is sponsored by the Western New England College School of Business International Programs Committee.


Western New England University is a private, independent, coeducational institution founded in 1919. Located on an attractive 215-acre suburban campus in Springfield, Massachusetts, Western New England University serves 3,955 students, including 2,575 full-time undergraduate students. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs are offered through Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, and Pharmacy, and School of Law.


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