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Ten years ago i was the commencement speaker for the firstgraduating class of aspiring women entrepreneurs from WEDCO(Women's Enterprise Development Corp., then called AWED). WhenWEDCO recently celebrated its 10th birthday, it reminded me how farwe've come in a relatively short 10 years. Not justentrepreneurial women, but all entrepreneurs.

In 1992 we were suffering from a devastating recession thatflung millions of corporate managers out of America's biggerbusinesses and onto the streets. Desperately seeking employment,many found refuge in business ownership-likely thinkingentrepreneurship would tide them over until the recession broke.Eventually, the recession did break. And the economy got muchbetter. But a funny thing happened: Those refugees realized theyliked being entrepreneurs, so they didn't return from whencethey came. Instead, they invested more energy, money and time inthe businesses they'd started. Many of those businesses arestill standing, larger and more sophisticated than they were, atestimony to the courage of the entrepreneurs who founded them.

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