The Accelerated Entrepreneur – Sour Grapes

Eclipse Winery, an entrepreneurial winery in Riner, Virginia, in winter If you follow this blog, you know I write Inside VT KnowledgeWorks, the VT KnowledgeWorks blog, founded a corporation under the auspices of VT KnowledgeWorks, and that corporation became one of its member companies. 

You know that when the inaugural VT KnowledgeWorks Entrepreneurship Summit was announced, including a chance for five companies to pitch to angel investors who would congregate in Blacksburg, Virginia to hear the companies’ presentations, I shared my struggles over deciding whether or not to apply to be one those five companies. 

Entrepreneurial drive, optimism, and idealism won out – as they tend to for me – and I then shared the challenging process of creating the online application and its requirements for current finances, financial projections, a business plan, a PowerPoint presentation, and a video.

Then silence.

My silence was due to sour grapes, which I find unbecoming, so I didn’t reveal them.  But I value authenticity and transparency in corporate leadership.  Sigh.  So here are my sour grapes:

  • I applied to be one of the five companies to pitch to angel investors.  My company wasn’t selected.
  • I then – the loser - profiled the companies – the winners - in this blog. 
  • I then – the loser – watched the companies – the winners – make their presentations to the angel investors without being one of them.
  • I felt baffled when I learned that each of the companies was asking for a million dollars or more.  I know the funding levels for angel investing and venture capital can overlap, and maybe I was thinking small, but gee, I could do a lot with $5,000, even create jobs with $25,000.
  • My expectation was that, during the companies’ presentations, the angel investors and the companies’ leaders would discuss ways to be of mutual value to each other.  I have heard “an expectation is a resentment waiting to happen.”  Let’s just say the approach taken was not what I expected and not part of my vision for my company.

The phrase “sour grapes” may have originated from the fable attributed to Aesop in which the fox, who couldn't reach the grapes, claimed they were probably sour anyway.

My parents have invested in me and my dreams and my future many times, including funding my company, including funding all my schooling, including a master’s degree in counseling.  They didn’t pay for that last item for nothing.

Dismissal of the value of something one tried for and didn’t get?

It’s inevitably born of hurt.  Hurt is so painful to acknowledge, so “not the done thing” in our culture, and feels so threateningly vulnerable, that it makes sense to transform it into bitterness.

Intellectualizing is one way to distance oneself from hurt, too, and I believe I’ve done enough of that.

Unacknowledged hurt, though, creates limits rather than extents.  The energy goes into protection, not expansion.  An entrepreneur can't afford that – or fulfill dreams like that.

So.

I, Anne Giles Clelland, founder of a member company of business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks, a.k.a. The Accelerated Entrepreneur, feel hurt and disappointed that my company was not picked to pitch to angel investors.

There.

Done. 

Free for the next dream.

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