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Since launching the Be Fearless campaign at the Case Foundation earlier this year, I’ve had the true privilege of sharing the Be Fearless principles with audiences across the nation. The five principles that comprise Be Fearless were born out of work we commissioned with one simple question in mind: “What is it that drives some efforts to transformative breakthroughs, while others stall or experience only incremental gains?”

In most groups, I’ve been heartened to see a mix of people and ideas come together — some ready to embrace the concepts of risk taking, making big bets, and making failure matter, while others are just trying to figure it out. This changes, of course, as you move from sector to sector and even as you move around the country. But one thing is for sure, I’ve never met a more FEARLESS audience than the one I sat before today.

Startup America hosted a Summit in Chicago today, bringing together regional leaders from across 35 states who are all hard at work trying to build, strengthen, or accelerate the entrepreneurial ecosystem in their areas. These people share a FEARLESS DNA — the same kind of DNA that has made this nation the leader of the free world. Chances are you don’t know their names and you may not have ever visited some of the places they call home — from Iowa to Puerto Rico to Tennessee — but it turns out they might be doing some of the most important work taking place in America today. Why? Because our nation was built on the strength of entrepreneurs — everything from the vitality of our communities to the health of our economy depends on the vibrancy of the entrepreneurial sector. Not only have 40 million new jobs come from this sector over recent decades, but so has innovation that has added to the quality of life we enjoy today and philanthropy that helps strengthen institutions and care for those less fortunate in our communities and around the world. So there I sat, looking out at these fearless leaders who help make America strong.

I was there in the spotlight to talk about the Case Foundation’s Be Fearless principles: 1) Make Big Bets; 2) Experiment early and Often; 3) Make Failure Matter; 4) Reach Beyond Your Bubble; and 5) Let Urgency Conquer Fear — but to be honest I saw the stage as those seated in front of me. They are the FEARLESS ones. They live FEARLESS every day. As Americans, we need to rally behind those communities who are hard at work building vibrant Startup regions. They need all of us to get behind them, shine a light, and bring resources to their efforts. We need to be FEARLESS in embracing this important movement and the leaders across the nation who are driving it. That’s the focus of Startup America and this is a call for all hands on deck. Will you join us? To learn more you can go to www.s.co

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