Shawn Nesaw

I’ve been reminded about the power of creativity this week. Creativity is not just about the ability to write or draw with style but it is about innovation too. I just returned from an economic development conference where I kept hearing that innovation and entrepreneurship are the backbone of our economy. OK, as a small business owner and a creative type, they grabbed my attention.
I started A. Bright Idea in 1996. I did it to allow more flexibility in my schedule and to create more of a work life balance. What I did not realize at the time was that my entrepreneurship journey was just beginning. Since starting this journey, my company employed more than 20 people, purchased real estate, developed real estate, paid into a new tax base created by our development and growth, not to mention purchasing equipment, services and materials from a variety of vendors both locally and globally. Our continued success meant growth, increased revenue and spending. I learned at this economic development conference that this is often called an ecosystem. Get it—eco like economy and ecosystem like the traditional definition of an environment or area.
With such bleak economic news, it would be easy to think that our business ecosystems are struggling. True in many cases. However, A. Bright Idea was delighted to celebrate with 99 other small business owners at the Top 100 Minority Business Enterprise Awards on October 21. More than 5,000 nominations came from the Maryland; Washington, D.C.; Virginia; Delaware and Pennsylvania area. The University of Maryland, University College auditorium was filled with friends and family celebrating our success. Sharon Pinder, former Special Secretary of the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs, remarked at the event that small business was where America would see job creation and where economic recovery would begin.
She’s right, and for me, and entrepreneurs all over this county, it started with an idea. Tending and nurturing that idea spurs growth that can truly make a difference for all of us. Now, that is an ecosystem–and now it is more apparent to me than ever that small business growth will lead to our economic recovery in this county. Let’s share our new ideas with each other and watch things grow.