3 Ways To Build Your Entrepreneurial Ecosystem During COVID-19

Entrepreneurial ecosystems are made up of people, and the success of every entrepreneurial ecosystem depends on the level of people’s connectivity to each other. That is the fundamental principle at the core of our Ecosystem Development practice at Techstars.

But why is connectivity so important in the first place?

And what does connectivity look like in this age of social distancing?

The entrepreneurial journey is a twisting, roller coaster ride, complete with the hard work of chugging your way to the top of some milestone only to quickly come hurtling down to a valley of uncertainty, anxiety, and a queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach.

Sounds like every day in our households today re: COVID.

The work to build our communities does not stop. There really is no real pause button. So what do you do as a community builder? The parallels to the founders we all support are strong.  And so are the ideas on how we keep building our entrepreneurial ecosystems.

  1. Reach Out – – This is a crucial time to reach out and spend a few minutes with your local investors, program operators, co-working spaces, and economic development enthusiasts. Your agenda is simple — just ask them how they are doing and if there is anything you can do to help them.  Be a resource and a supporter of their efforts.
  2. Create Opportunities for Connections – – Find some new ways to bring founders out of their own personal roller coaster cars and into the community.  Create a new virtual event that lets them showcase what they are working on.  Invite non-traditional ecosystem members to hear the ups and downs of the founder journey.
  3. Evaluate Assets and Challenges – – Take a step back and evaluate what your community has (assets) and what is missing (challenges).  This is a good time for an honest assessment. From this, you and your peer leaders and influencers can begin to chart out what comes next. You never know what gap you may fill that energizes and catalyzes your community over the next year.

There is uncertainty. You are anxious. There are more unknowns than knowns. But this much I do know: there will be a greater emphasis in your city to boost entrepreneurship. It would be great if you were ready to offer some ideas, a collaborative leadership team, and a frictionless networked community ready to leverage the opportunity.

 

Speaker, investor, mentor, startup founder. One of 3 or 4 Co-Founders of MapQuest (sold to AOL for $1.2B). Managing Director of $25M Venture Fund in late 90's. CEO, COO or President of various companies ranging from $200k to $20M in size. One of two Managing Directors of The Startup Factory (35 investments across 7 cohorts), founder and MC of the Big Top Reverse Job Fair and national writer and speaker waxing poetic around startups and startup communities. Currently EIR @ Techstars with Brad Feld ~ Startup Communities, to help community leaders around the world grow their startup community.

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