Entrepreneurs are on their way to tweeting themselves to an official day in their honor. At least that's the hope of a Twitter petition launched May 11 to persuade President Obama to declare March 20, 2011 the first annual National Entrepreneurs' Day.
David Hauser and Siamak Taghaddos, co-founders of Needham, Massachusetts-based Grasshopper, a virtual phone system for entrepreneurs, started the petition, with the goal of obtaining 1,000,000 signatures. Three days into the effort, they've rallied more than 1,000 Twitter users to sign it, including a number of heavy hitters like Inc. columnist Jason Fried, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, and former New Hampshire governor and entrepreneur Craig Benson.
Taghaddos explained that as he was recently driving to work one day and listening to experts on the news debate about the state of the economy, he realized that "the only people who were going to turn the economy around and really create jobs were entrepreneurs." He wondered why he had never heard of a national day in honor of the contributions of individual entrepreneurs, in the vein of Mother's Day and Father's Day. Even China has a National Entrepreneurs' Day, he said.
So he took his idea to Twitter, a natural fit given that the site is becoming one of the most recognizable on the Internet and a popular tool for business owners looking to grow their business. "It was also a good fit with Obama," he said. "He's the first president who's ever been on Twitter and been using social media. It's unique how quickly and easily things on Twitter become viral. Everybody's talking about it these days."
Events like Global Entrepreneurship Week have been around for a while, but Taghaddos said dedicating a day to the entrepreneurs as individuals was important, especially in a country with a rich history of entrepreneurialism.
"If there was a day recognizing entrepreneurs, it would help this president and future presidents, senators, and politicians think about entrepreneurs when they're making decisions," he said. "It's nice to be recognized. It motivates and energizes the community."
So far, Taghaddos hasn't heard back from Obama or his staff. He and Hauser will continue the campaign over the next several months in hopes of gaining enough momentum to grab the White House's attention.