This morning at Washington, DC's, Union Station, Back on Track America was officially launched. BOTA was born when journalist/entrepreneur Jane Applegate had a 3 a.m. epiphany in the days following the September 11 tragedy. Jane's idea was to get a core group of business leaders together to stage a series of grassroots events all across the United States-starting today and continuing through May 2002.

BOTA's first official event will be held Thursday, November 15, in New York City. There, hundreds of entrepreneurs will get to hear from small-business experts, leaders and service providers. I am privileged to be one of those people hoping to "bring spirit, strength and prosperity" back to this great nation of ours. As Jane christened the Amtrak (which has generously donated train tickets to get BOTA across the nation) train taking us from DC to NYC, I couldn't help but be proud to be a part of this effort. Being an optimist, I know together we small-biz gurus and you entrepreneurs can truly get America back on track.

As AOL's Ted Leonsis said, small businesses, if nurtured, can grow to be a job-creation engine. Hopefully, BOTA will be coming to a city near you. Check www.backontrackamerica.com for the upcoming schedule.