Starting and successfully growing a company is a difficult task. Entrepreneurs need a variety of elements to be successful including mentorship, encouragement, talented people, funding and a network of contacts. Entrepreneurs play an important role in developing a culture and environment for entrepreneurship. While there are many organizations with a mandate to support entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs can learn a lot from each other and help one another navigate the complexities of starting and growing businesses.
Here are a few suggestions to help you kickstart a culture of entrepreneurship in their community:
- Be the voice
A soapbox can be useful to broadcast your ideas, passions and help to engage with others who are like-minded and have an interest in your cause. It will take time for busy entrepreneurs to join the movement. By developing a consistent voice and a call to action, you can lead the way in starting the conversation. While it may be difficult to find soapbox opportunities when you first start out, begin with online channels like Twitter, blogs, and other social media channels to get the message out and bring the community together online.
- Promote Entrepreneurs
As you build traction, develop your voice, and build rapport with the community, you will find yourself in a position to speak on behalf of entrepreneurs and will regularly hear of the successes and failures of startups in your region. Celebrate those who have found success and share learnings from those who have encountered challenges. Everyone can learn from each other.
- Engage with Supporters
There are plenty of organizations that support entrepreneurs and small business. Ecosystem partners can include business associations, nonprofits, education institutions, banks, investors, municipal, provincial and federal governments, coworking spaces, hubs, incubators, accelerators and so much more. Take the time and meet with stakeholders, promote their resources and discuss how you can support their mandates, share your vision in community building and work together to support entrepreneurs.
- Build Community Leaders
As you begin to build momentum and develop meaningful relationships with entrepreneurs and stakeholders, continue to empower others to join the cause. People will want to get involved and as a community leader you will need help. By expanding the volunteer network, you and your team will be able to engage with other industries and individuals and grow the support network. Remember building a community is greater than the sum of its parts. It is important to be inclusive to anyone who wants to play a role.
- Host events
In order to build a lasting, long-term community you will need the capacity to create gathering places. Work with your team and enterprise partners to host different types of events to engage different audiences. Listen to entrepreneurs and find out what people need to move forward with their ideas, businesses and interests. A mix of events can include meetups, hackathons, financial management and sales training sessions, conferences and more. The more variety of events within your ecosystem, the more you will be encouraging different types of entrepreneurs and creativity.
Join the global startup culture movement. While you are focusing on organizing local grassroots collaboration, you will quickly integrate into the national and global culture of entrepreneurs and support systems. To learn more about launching a Startup Community, visit www.startupcommunities.ca.
Photo Copyright: Startup Canada