“If you want to change the world, you start from America.”

Six lessons we learned from Tim Kaine’s small business round table

On Tuesday, Tim Kaine sat down to speak with local Colorado business owners about Hillary’s small business plan. During the round table, the entrepreneurs discussed their successes, their challenges, and what they want to see from our next president. Here are six lessons that we learned—and are ready to pass on to you.

1. The number one ingredient for success? Passion.

“We feel our work is important because it creates really good jobs and it impacts climate change. More importantly, it’s just really driven by the passion of the people. Colorado’s a very environmentally friendly state, and we’ve been able to grow just based on the fact that our people have a lot of passion for what we’re doing.”

—Alex Valdez, cofounder of solar power company EcoMark

2. Our career education shouldn’t stop at a middle school job fair.

“Landscape architects are working and we’re doing good work for the community and for the world. But if I wanted to hire today, I couldn’t. There are no landscape architects available. I want people to understand that we have jobs. I want the veterans to know that when they get their GI Bill, they can go to school to be a landscape architect.”

—Susan Brown, founding principal of Valerian, a landscape architecture firm

3. To love your life, you’ve got to love your work.

“Four years ago I was living in Abu Dhabi, doing real estate development for the crown prince. My career was taking off. I was making a ton of money. I was having a great deal of success, but in my personal life I was completely miserable. I wasn’t satisfied. When I found the outdoors, I learned the lessons and gained the confidence in myself to change my life. I started my own business to help other women do the same.”

—Niki Koubourlis, founder of Bold Betties , a Denver-based internet startup that makes outdoor adventure more accessible for women

4. Really—everyone should know their career options.

“We need to draw people back to careers in manufacturing through vocational channels and let them know manufacturing is a fantastic career. Culturally, we just need to get more people interested in manufacturing.”

—Randy Brodsky, owner and president of Primus Aerospace, the host of Tuesday’s roundtable

5. It’s hard for businesses to work when the government doesn’t.

“We were always taught in the military to work together. The country needs Congress to work together, too. It’s head-scratching, embarrassing, and destructive to our business when they don’t. We’ve lost business over the last few years because of people that want to put party before country. That’s a problem.”

—Richard Lewis, CEO and founder of RTL Networks and Energy, which provides innovative technical solutions to its customers.

6. We’re fighting to make sure that America is a better place to start a business — but it’s already pretty darn great.

“I am a first-generation immigrant in this country and this is the best country to be in. I came here because I realized that if you want to change the world, you start from America.”

—Somair Riaz, founder of Skindroid, a company that designs wearable tech

Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine know that small businesses are the backbone of Colorado’s economy. Join us to fight for smart economic policy and a president who will support entrepreneurs — not stiff them.

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