Have you ever come of a business idea and said, “This would be a big hit” but then didn’t do anything about it? Everyone thinks of very creative and viable ideas based on their needs, but building a company requires more than that. So what is missing?
Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky gives a detailed list of potential steps the idea person can take to bring a startup to life and make it more than an idea. Belsky talks about managing yourself, your creative team, seeing opportunities but staying focused, and changing your perspective on the traditional reward system. These are all amazing suggestions for an aspiring entrepreneur and if you think you want to make your idea happen, I would suggest reading the book.
However, I think there is something beyond individual’s effort to found startups. Startup communities are formed in a distinct way: The availability of resources and entrepreneurship in the community foster others to become more interested in realizing their business ideas.
With this in mind, many universities, governments and NGOs focused on holding meet-up events, supporting incubators, accelerators and innovation labs. Narrowing this down, I identified three resources that could substantially help (potential) entrepreneurs in a community:
Great partners and a driven team are essential to build a successful startup. One of my personal favorites, Cofounderslab connects entrepreneurs who are looking for their “next” or “first” big step. Finding the right co-founder could increase innovation, expand the network of the company, and significantly improve efficiency. For more information about these networks, follow this link.
After forming a great team, startups need offices but building a professional office from scratch is expensive and time consuming. Cambridge Innovation Center’s model in providing small offices, administrative services (e.g. Internet, stocked kitchens, printing, conference rooms, etc.), and building a collaborative community has been a huge success.
The conversations between two startup teams in the kitchen or Venture Café are inspiring. Entrepreneurs at CIC are very happy to be there because they learn a lot from each other, expand their network, and find new opportunities. To learn more about similar coworking spaces, see Popshop, Node5, Yazane, Greentown Labs, and General Assembly.
3. Mentors and advisors
Entrepreneurs can achieve a lot with a great team and a space. However, the big leap comes when people who are willing to help surround them. Mentors and advisors could make introductions, assist business strategies, and help startups raise money.
Meetups, competitions, conferences are great places to meet mentors and advisors. One of my favorite projects is 1 Million Cups (1MC) that let entrepreneurs receive feedback about their ideas and strategies, and find mentors during the presentations. These events where investors, mentors, and entrepreneurs meet are great resources for individuals and for the entrepreneurship culture in the community. For similar events, see SXSW V2V, 3 Day Startup, and Entrepreneurs Engage.
Entrepreneurship comes down to how much passion and drive one has about his/her business idea. Having all these resources will create an entrepreneurial community and support people who want to walk the entrepreneurial path, but it won’t make an uninterested person an entrepreneur. So, let’s help our community to make these resources available to empower entrepreneurs.