Yesterday, I had the pleasure of moderating a legislative forum held by Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA) entitled “Beyond the Digital Divide: Capitalizing on the Technology Economy.”
Participants in the discussion included noted DJ and technologist Hank Schocklee; n4md founder James Harris; Kimberly Stewart, Chief Curator of the Be Blogalicious community and conferences; Howard Law School professor Lateef Mtima; Where Are the Blacks in Technology blog founder Kai Dupe; and Google executive Malik Ducard.
It was a lively discussion, with an emphasis on education and entrepreneurship — and how broadband access is helping to revolutionize both. On the education front, there was a focus on mobile apps, and how encouraging children at a young age to learn programming, math and app development helps them become entrepreneurs and prepare for the workforce of tomorrow. As for entrepreneurship, while everyone agreed broadband — whether it’s wired or wireless — is vital for small companies to compete in today’s technology economy, there was concern that the cost of access can act as an impediment to would-be startups.
This reminded me of something that may be overlooked by entrepreneurs as they take the plunge and embrace the power of broadband in their business — namely, the amount they can save in the long run by being connected. In fact, our recent “Start-Up Savings” report found that the average entrepreneur can save more than $16,000 in startup costs alone by utilizing a high-speed Internet connection.
Obviously, that’s a good chunk of savings for a business just getting off the ground. And as I told attendees of the forum, it shows that when it comes to competing in today’s economy — especially when investment capital continues to be tight — the benefits of being connected far outweigh the costs of connecting.