Simon Kapenda: Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Leadership Meetup Series

My next Meetup Series on Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Leadership is on Saturday, February 19, 2011 at Protea Turinger Hof on Independence Avenue in Windhoek from 16h00 – 19h00. This is something you don’t wanna miss if you’re inspired to do bigger and greater things in your life. Search Facebook for this event to RSVP now. It’s free and is open to the public.


Dear President Obama, It’s Time to Stop Talking

It’s been over ten months since you were inaugurated to the office of the Presidency of the United States. In general, if you were a baby, you would be about 10 months now, still crawling, still trying to figure out who’s who, and what’s what. However, your responsibility as President does not require on-site job training, it doesn’t require you to figure out who’s who and what’s what, it requires actions. And, actions must be now.

I have always been one of your biggest supporters. I have always been one of your biggest fans. While I was a student at The Ohio State University during the election campaign, we at OSU, rallied for you, endlessly. And even if you were not elected as President, I would still support you, I would still rally behind you, because of whom you are and what you stand for. Yes, you have inspired me and millions of other people around the world, and more and more people everywhere are looking up to you. More and more kids around the world want to be just like you.

barack_obamaHowever, there comes a time when you have to stop selling, you have to stop talking, and start putting your words and promises into action. Mr. President, the time is now to start enacting and signing bills into law. Yes, not too long ago, you signed the gay rights bill into law, and you have signed a few more bills into law, such as the equal-pay bill, the bill reversing abortion funds ban, and a few other bills, however, we need more bills signed into law.

Yes, I applaud you for averting what could have been the greatest economic disaster in the history of mankind, by signing the stimulus bill into law, but given the fact that you have the backing of the majority in both houses of the representatives, you should be able to quickly wrap up many proposed bills and especially, the current issue at hand, the health care reform.

I don’t just want to complain about the things you haven’t done yet. No, I also want to thank you Mr. President, for working behind the scene to heroically help free the captured American sailors by the Somali pirates and the release of the American journalists by North Korea.

Yes, I understand the implications of you achieving such a historic health care reform, given the fact that you are facing the greatest challenges from both sides of the aisle, and mostly from the far right and the severity of the opposition from the health insurance industry. But you must not look back, you must not give in, you must act now, urge both of the houses to pass a health care reform bill, but it must have a public option. You must not sign it if it does not have a sweeping public option plan.

During the election campaign, you have brought so much hope to so many people. Yes, we were all flooded with all kinds of threats from within and outside. Threat elevations at airports and public venues became an everyday thing. We were faced with the war in Iraq, and the never-ending war in Afghanistan, followed by Hurricane Katrina, and then the Great Recession. Yes, we were all in need to hear something positive, something uplifting, something joyous, and you brought that to all of us, and we embraced you, we welcomed you into our homes, and we confirmed that at the voting booths, when we voted “Yes, We Can”!

Yes, Mr. President, you have inherited a lot of garbage from the previous administration. Most of us don’t even think about that, or don’t want to think about what you had to do when you came into Office. But you already knew what you were getting into when you took and accepted the challenge. So, that should not have been a surprise to you. Thus, Mr. President, now is no longer a time to keep speaking and rallying, now it’s time to start proposing and signing bills into law.

And most importantly Mr. President, now is no longer the time to continue asking me to donate to your Organizing for America campaign in your weekly email updates, the recession has hit me, I don’t have any more money to keep donating to your Organizing for America’s cause. I’m not even sure what Organizing for America does with the money donated to it. I thought the election campaign was over? But right now, Mr. President, it’s time to start executing all that you have promised to do during your election campaign rallies.

Yes, you’ve engaged and lifted some travel restrictions to and from Cuba. You are talking to Iran and North Korea, but we need more, for the people here at home.

And while you are at it, Mr. President, please look carefully into the immigration bill. In Silicon Valley and elsewhere in America, there are many companies whose combined annual revenue are more than $52 billion, and currently employ over 500,000 Americans. These companies, such as Yahoo!, Google, and many others, were partly founded and developed by immigrants, and most of these companies have and continue to help lead America as the next frontier in technology and energy.

Mr. President, there are many legal immigrants who have come to America, and continue to migrate to the United States, and most of them leave their families and everything they love behind, including myself. We come to America for one reason only, to make our dreams come true and realize our potential. Not all of us come to America to milk the system, but we come here equipped with ingenuity and with our own ideas. We come to America to create, develop, and reap the fruits of our own labor; the American dream, and in the process, we create large and profitable companies who pay hefty taxes and employ thousands of Americans. We come to contribute and make a huge impact to the American society and the world. We come to change the way business is done, efficiently.

However, most of us, the legal immigrants of the United States (weren’t we all at one point or another), always fall under the spell of not having seed money to develop our innovative ideas. As an immigrant, to fund a startup, you have to work twice as hard just to prove yourself, more than your native colleagues. You’re likely not to have the needed startup capital to help fund and grow your startup business. You are likely not to be able to go to the bank and apply for a loan simply because you don’t have the required credit scores, given the fact that you have just arrived in the U.S. and your social security number was just recently issued, and you haven’t established yourself in the country longer enough to qualify for a bank loan.

Most of us don’t bring utilities for use as collateral for bank loans, and then again, most banks don’t recognize technology startups as a qualified industry for bank loans. Since, we are new in the country, we weren’t born here and don’t have families and friends who may help fund our start-ups, compare to those who were born and grew up here, who have families and friends, when needed, can request for help to fund their startup ideas. Our sole reliance to secure seed money falls to venture capitalists, who in turn are already overly crowded, overwhelmed and flooded with many different business plans. Thus, only a few of us end up able to start and grow our businesses.

Mr. President, please see if you can help set up a special fund, for all legal immigrants, who have viable business plans in order to get funding for their startups. The SBA does not help that much, since even going through the SBA, you still have to go through a bank to get an SBA loan. In all, most of us who come to America, legally, with a dream to create and grow our viable businesses end up not realizing our business dreams. Only a few of us, create those companies who have and continued to make a huge impact to the American Economy.

For the war in Afghanistan, as I have written on this topic before, please don’t send any more US troops to Afghanistan, instead work with the government of Afghanistan and Pakistan to negotiate and politicize the Taliban to become a political organization, whereby they will become a political organization and participate in a general election and eventually become part of the Afghanis’ members of the parliament. That’s the only way there would be peace in Afghanistan and would be able to root out the members of the Al-Qaeda organization out of Afghanistan.

The poll number shows that almost half of Americans now feel a bit jittery with your current leadership. Some are those who may be listening to the foolish talk of the GOP mouthpieces, the Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin alike.

However, not all of us do. Some of those polls may be biased, due to the fact that they may not be scientific, thus we cannot completely rely on them. As most of those who were polled may be those who lean towards the right, or simply those who pay attention to what those fools; Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and Rush Limbaugh, are saying, and may be a small percentage of those who voted for the other guys. However, the fact is; we cannot ignore their voices and that they should not go unheard. Please Mr. President, if you start signing more bills into law, then maybe, just maybe, their voices would calm down.

obama-bill-signingMr. President, you do not want to wait until the third year of your presidency to start fulfilling your campaign promises. If you do, then you will be a one-term president, because by then, almost all Americans would be weary of your inaction, and will surely not vote for you again for a second term.

So, please Mr. President, stop talking, and start signing some bills, not just bills, but they must be the most relevant bills into law. The kind of bills that help make a great impact in the lives of all Americans; the bills that more Americans would appreciate you for as the President.

Thank you Mr. President, and thank you for giving America, once more, a positive outlook from an international perspective!