To continue with a theme of topics that begin with the letter ‘C’, if there is a ‘C’ word that defines, sustains, and elevates the endeavors of a business owner it is the community he operates in and chooses to cultivate. Even though startups may be fledgling platforms, association with them can fire ideas and promise high return on investment! The only catch is there has to be genuine give and take and accountability—true participation and contribution. Because when your local startup community thrives, it confers you with a myriad benefits as well.
WHY SHOULD YOU EVEN CARE?
A startup community encompassing the up-and-coming bright minds and strong wills stimulates the local economy, facilitates the free flow of knowledge and experience, and gives birth to an atmosphere of adventure, action and hope. Learning is never a one-way street. Startups drink at the fountain of established businesses when it comes to tips and strategies. And the juggernauts in return can unlearn rigidness to embrace the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship from their more free flowing peers. Based on documented studies and research papers, encouraging startup success is the wisest course of action to ensure business growth.
- STARTUPS FEED THE ECONOMY – The Kauffman Foundation has spoken! In an extensive study they have found that established enterprises lose about a million jobs a year. The real boost comes from companies that are less than a year old. They end up adding close to three million new positions to the economy on an annual basis. Without startups stagnation is evident!
- EXPANDING GRAPEVINE – Fostering a startup community means mingling with people from a number of different industries and backgrounds. A hacker may have the opportunity of speaking to the CEO of a bank and may end up pointing out vulnerabilities in the online money transfer system. This kind of unrestricted interaction that oversteps the boundaries of conventional social hierarchy propels innovation and unprecedented positive changes as fresh ideas rejuvenate tired perspectives. It is an excellent way to keep up with the global grapevine and have access to breakthroughs and information from a myriad sectors that must be monitored but end up being neglected.
- INFLUX OF FRESH TALENT – Silicon Valley is one of the most highly coveted business hubs in the world. It is no small wonder that it is first and foremost an entrepreneurial hotspot! A startup presents exciting new vistas. It has the power to attract fresh talent from all corners of the country. Adrenaline driven Millennials come in search of freedom and financial windfall and they bring with them paradigm shifts and ‘modern’ ways of doing business. They are an immense asset to the local economy.
HOW DO YOU BUILD YOUR STARTUP COMMUNITY?
- NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK – You got it right. The first step towards helping build and strengthen your local startup community is to know the watering holes of entrepreneurs. Map out such rendezvous points and start networking, either directly with the start-up founders or with like-minded businessmen who believe in your vision of assisting and fostering this niche community for long term benefits.
- INVEST IN A STARTUP LAUNCH PROGRAM – If your locality already has one, invest in it! A launch program is not as rigidly structured as an incubator. It basically works to drive awareness and improve the rate of startup success. It is ongoing support that is more conducive to the erratic nature of entrepreneurship. This decision can take your experience and directly deliver it to those in need, amplifying business growth and economic stimulation.
- HOST INDUSTRY EVENTS – Industry events establish you as an expert in your niche. And automatically attract relevant startups that come in search of best practices, insights and techniques to automate and grow their business.
One of my many projects, and my primary effort toward building what we discussed above is Collabortank–Boise’s preeminent training and startup launch program. It is an ecosystem that derives its name from a portmanteau of ‘Collaboration’ and ‘Think Tank’.
With the vision of inspiring collaboration and encouraging the dissemination of much needed wisdom to promising entrepreneurs, it works on the formula of Great People + Expert Training + Access to Resources + Collaboration = Success to help up and coming businesses eliminate roadblocks of complexity and realize their full potential.
Driven by a desire to:
- Help stem talent drain from the local community
- Re-invest generated wealth in local endeavors
- Help set up companies that can not only survive but thrive for years to come
- Lower collaboration barriers for experts and newbies
- Create a more diversified and healthy economic base that includes tech entrepreneurs
Collabortank is focused on:
- Taking a balanced approach by allowing solopreneurs (who often have little to no chance of succeeding at an incubator) assimilate much needed knowledge and gather hands on experience and business acumen.
- Offering top notch coaching and mentorship programs with forerunners of the tech startup space.
- Providing mission critical support like a high performance sales team, consultations with an on-site attorney and CFO, access to institutions—like Boise State University—through continued partnership, and a dedicated Project Manager to startups so that they can get ‘unstuck’ and execute their ideas in real life.
- Collaborating with existing incubators and co-working spaces in the Valley—such as the Boise State TECenter, Venture College at Boise State, the Watercooler, The Greenhouse, and Nebula Shift to offer its members superior growth and learning opportunities.
RUSTLING UP INTEREST WITH STARTUP SIDE HUSTLE:
Collabortank is all set for a grand launch on 15th September. To pique interest and set the tone for the offerings provided by this unique set-up, Collabortank visionary and serial entrepreneur Philip Bennett is conducting a series of meet-ups to educate local entrepreneurs and generate funding for them. Aptly named The Start-up Side Hustle, it is aimed at bringing together community mentors and experts with future startup founders in a pitch focused setting where exchange of insights and eventual fund pledges are the key goals.
It is geared to provide entrepreneurs with an expedited introduction to and practice in the process of acquiring capital, feedback, guidance and network connections, which are the mainstay of operating a business platform.
With baby steps towards a golden Collabortank vision, Boise is all set to be the true beating heart of the Treasure Valley with a re-energized economy and a strong foundation for exponential business growth.
A HEALTHY COMMUNITY NEEDS HEALTHY PARTICIPATION
Collabortank and Startup Side Hustle are exciting projects, and I am thrilled to be working on them and living my bigger future. However, it takes community to build these things, and it takes community to keep them alive. Boise is close to my heart because it is my home, and it is apparent that we all need to pull together to create a healthy and thriving startup cluster in this area. But this applies to you whether you are with me here or out in Timbuktu! Community is how you are going to get where you want to go! I hope to hear from more of you about your journeys and growth, and how helping to grow your community has helped to impact your business and your life!