I liked this latest post on A 3-Step Guide To Whipping Your City's Startup Scene Into Shape from Billy Warden and Greg Behr that appreared in Fast Company. I am not a fan of the idea that all communities should model themselves after Silicon Valley, but this post has some excellent advice.
Any city or town, no matter how small, can whip its startup scene into competitive shape. To that end, we’ve developed a three-step guide we call R.U.N.:
•Rally Around Risk
•Network Frequently and Widely
It's this last point that I think is the most important. The greatest challenge facing any entrepreneur is the feeling that they are alone, that no one understands what they are doing, and that they have nowhere to turn for help. Creating a vibrant networking scene, that enables entrepreneurs to connect with each other and with the support available to them within larger community, is vital to the success of entrepreneurship in any community.
Communities can offer a corrective by establishing networking activities that connect entrepreneurs to the resources they need. Chambers of commerce, businesses, and grassroots organizations can all contribute here.
To some, an essential piece of networking is a common space--if not an incubator, than a hub where young companies and entrepreneurial support organizations suit up everyday. Nothing promotes the exchange of ideas, skills, and tricks of the trade as quickly as putting like-minded people together in one room.
Keep in mind, the networking imperative isn’t just about amassing resources within your city limits. For best results, think and act regionally.
This is why we created the Business Calendar Network, so that startup communities (read entrepreneurs) can thrive by connecting with the people, resources, and knowledge they need to start and grow their businesses. They don't need to struggle alone and in ignorance. What they need to know, and who they need to know, are both at their fingertips, through networking.