Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Excitingly, entrepreneurship has been getting a lot of press lately. From the Startup America Initiative to small business legislation, business owners and aspiring business owners are in the spotlight these days.

Less fortunately, it seems that most of the attention seems to be focused on certain geographical areas: Silicon Valley, NYC, Boston, Austin…but these are entrepreneurship hubs that already have extremely well developed entrepreneurial ecosystems. There’s a bit of self-fulfillment here: entrepreneurship hubs get attention because they’re full of resources and they get resources because the attention is constantly focused on them.

But what about the rest of the country? Having a sufficiently supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem is so important to budding new businesses. A community that is supportive of entrepreneurship – both in the level to which it is socially acceptable to go out on your own (praised small business owner vs. unemployed dreamer) and in the level to which it is structurally supported (training programs, access to capital, regulation, etc.) – has such a massive impact on a business’ ability to succeed that we need to encourage efforts to take the conversation beyond these long-established startup hubs.

Fresh off SXSW, Bryan Keplesky wrote an article yesterday for the blog that discusses ways to help build an entrepreneurial ecosystem in your city. Whether you’re actually passionate about entrepreneurship in and of itself or you simply recognize how such an ecosystem would benefit your own business, being a part of building your city’s resources will pay huge dividends. Keplesky’s top 3 tips are (you can check out his article, through the link above, for me details):

  1. Create awareness
  2. Establish a culture and community of mentorship
  3. Seek out strong leaders

“Sure, no problem,” you’re probably thinking. “So all I need to do is start a movement! Easier said than done.”

Well, you’re absolutely right. It can be an uphill battle to get your entire community to jump on board and support the proper development of an effective entrepreneurial ecosystem that can provide the mentorship, capital, and regulatory environment necessary for startups and other small businesses to thrive.

However, you’re not actually starting the movement. The movement is emerging across the country and you just need to step up and make sure that your city doesn’t miss out. That means that you don’t need to be the figurehead leader, you  need to take on the (equally as important) role of the “1st follower” for your city.

Derek Sivers gives a great TED talk about the importance of the “1st follower” for starting a movement:

Entrepreneurs should take this lesson to heart as they all want (and need) to “start a movement” to succeed in the business world. If you really want to make a difference in your community, and for your business, step up and be your city’s “1st follower” of the national entrepreneurship movement; and then be sure to support your own local “1st followers” and “remember the importance of nurturing your first few followers as equals.”


2 thoughts on “Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

  1. Pingback: Weekly Roundup: Mar. 13 – Mar. 17, 2012 | NewVentureMentor

  2. Pingback: Weekly Roundup: Mar. 13 – Mar. 17, 2012 | NewVentureMentor

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