It’s hard to be a startup, given that most small businesses don’t survive past five years. It’s really hard to be a clean energy startup, because venture capital firms underinvest in risky technology challenges. And it’s hardest of all to be a clean energy startup led by an entrepreneur who happens to be a woman or a person of color (or both), because venture capital firms scarcely invest in underrepresented founders.
We know that startups create a disproportionate number of good-paying jobs and take swings on high-risk, high-reward climate solutions that incumbent firms aren’t nimble enough to pursue. But barriers to inclusive entrepreneurship prevent the United States from achieving its full potential as the world’s foremost engine of economic growth and technology innovation. We can’t expect to win many games when we bench more than half our team for no good reason.