Community. That’s the one word that guides our efforts in building a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. From the Global Entrepreneurship Network and Techstars to Ashoka and more, the foundational mantra is fostering community.
After years of research and development, there are now various programs and initiatives that can help you build and grow your own startup communities on the local, national and regional level. Below are a few of the programs that I have worked with personally and seen the results they can bring. Many are free for community participants, others require a charge to cover event expenses. Feel free to pick and choose based on what you feel is right for your own community.
Components of a Journey
The programs are grouped into various levels of an entrepreneur’s journey, based on the component you want to focus on. The idea behind the levels is redacted from Techstars’ The Entrepreneur’s Journey Model (source).
Having a realization or awakening
Seeking knowledge and other like-minded people
Executing on an idea (alone or with others)
Seeking a scalable business model
Seeking the maximum success of your core mission
Recognized as the leading organization in your field
Do any of these programs resonate with what your community needs? Let’s connect and discuss your entrepreneurial ecosystem, and see if any of these make sense.
During one week each November, thousands of events and competitions around the world inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial activity while connecting them to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors. In eight years, Global Entrepreneurship Week has expanded to 160 countries – building and strengthening entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world. Powered by the Kauffman Foundation, the initiative is supported by dozens of world leaders and a network of more than 15,000 partner organizations.
Recognized around the world, GEW offers a springboard from which to launch new year-round programs and initiatives. The media attention GEW attracts each November creates the opportunity for partners to spotlight founders, announce new programs and initiatives and highlight impact it has had during the course of the year. GEW serves as a community-building season to reach out to the public at large to inspire more people to engage with their local entrepreneurship ecosystem.
GEN Starters Club is a global community made up of talented founders whose promising startups have been battle-tested through one or more of GEN’s global startup competitions. It provides a global interface – reaching more than 160 countries – with fellow challenge winners, experienced entrepreneurs, startup champions and potential investors for support and continued growth. GEN Starters Club provides insight and advice from GEN Mentors, enhanced exposure, curated networking opportunities at special events around the world and the chance to be part of a like-minded community of passionate and promising entrepreneurs.
Startup Huddle is a program designed to educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs — one entrepreneur at a time. It is based on the notion that the best way for entrepreneurs to discover solutions to the challenges they face is through purposeful engagement with one another. As an experiential learning opportunity, the Startup Huddle format is consistent in each location: on a given morning, one or two early-stage startup founders give a six-minute presentation of their companies to a diverse audience of peers, mentors, educators, and advisors. Each presentation is followed by a 20-minute question and answer session and feedback via an audience survey.
Startup Open is a global competition to identify, connect and recognize promising young startups around the world. The top virtual applicants join the global winners of GEN’s affiliated live competitions in being offered admission into GEN’s Starters Club. Following due diligence and interviews with a panel of investors, the top GEN Starters travel to the GEC to be recognized in front of the world – and to face off against other finalists. Previous winners – which include startups from Israel, Croatia, Ghana and the United States – have been featured by CNBC, CNN, Fast Company and Forbes.
Startup Experience offers intensive transformational workshops designed to inspire the next generation of young entrepreneurs. It introduces students to the entrepreneurial mindset and provide hands-on training in high impact-entrepreneurship. Students build creative capacity and entrepreneurial confidence, and learn effective tools to build new ventures.
Techstars Startup Digest is carefully curated by the community, for the community. Their goal is to help every entrepreneur (and aspiring entrepreneur) connect with the people, places, and events around them. More connected entrepreneurs are more successful entrepreneurs!
In addition to the city/community based digest, you can also subscribe to ‘Reading Lists‘ on over 30 different topics. Each is curated by an expert in the field and the list of topics is ever-growing!
Techstars Startup Week™ brings entrepreneurs, local leaders, and friends together over five days to build momentum and opportunity around your community’s unique entrepreneurial identity. Join in a celebration led by entrepreneurs and hosted in the entrepreneurial spaces you love.
Over the course of five days, participants in Techstars Startup Week can choose the events they’d like to attend. Typically these events are held at various venues across a city.
At Techstars Startup Weekend, you’ll be immersed in the ideal environment for startup magic to happen. Surrounded by smart, passionate people and with the best tools and approaches at your disposal, you’ll take giant leaps toward creating a business, becoming a founder, and connecting with the right people and resources.
In just 54 hours, you will experience the highs, lows, fun, and pressure that make up life at a startup. As you learn how to create a real company, you’ll meet the very best mentors, investors, cofounders, and sponsors who are ready to help you get started.
Techstars is for life — founders, mentors, investors, and corporate partners work together to create a network of support that lasts throughout your entrepreneurial journey.
Launch a Startup Program
With so many programs, it can be confusing to know where to start. Let’s connect and see where your startup community maturity is currently, and we’ll identify some good programs to fit your unique community.
Don’t worry, there is no commitment to launch a program. We just give you ideas to think through and recommend what may work in your ecosystem.