Connect, Educate and Promote
Brenden Mulligen is a former Chicagoan, like myself, who has created several successful startups, unlike myself, and is now a mentor for 500 Startups, Advise.me and several startups. He wrote an article for TechCrunch recently about the foundations of a startup community. I recall having written something along the same lines for Chicago last year, but his is less... chaotic. <smile>
He identifies 8 factors contributing to a community's success:
Having said that, I felt compelled to relate some of these issues to my personal local endeavors, or what I'm aware of. However, this is not meant to be an exhaustive list.
If you are an entrepreneur and you need help or some advice, where do you turn? Your local SCORE office, friends, neighbors, your boss at work? What we need is a point of contact, an entry point identifying all available resources: community, investors, counseling, advice, people. Built In Fairfield County is intended to be such a resource. Read about us for how you can contribute, and spread the word!
In Brenden's words, "Founders of different companies should constantly get together to share their experiences and help each other." I wholeheartedly agree, so let's do something about it!
Late last year, I discovered a group on meetup.com with ~70 members with a title the likes of "for people who are looking for web developers", literally. I've since renamed it Fairfield County Startups Meetup, and Starting in January 2012, we will be holding a monthly "Hackers and Founders" lunch where we can meet as friends and help one another.
Spread the word!
Please don't be afraid to talk about your idea. There is far more benefit in seeking feedback than to proceed with your vision unchecked. In fact, post it here and get some feedback from the Fairfield County community.
Oh, I have my fair share of mistakes and missed opportunities. In fact, I commit to writing a series of blog posts about my experiences in the startup world. I invite you to do the same.
Form Startup Hubs
We're well on our way on the events front:
In terms of coworking and incubators, I know of:
Invite Outsiders In
I actually met with Christian Heilmann last week, and he told me he would speak himself at one of the local developer meetups, or have a local Mozilla representative drop by. I've also reached out to several of the local tech shops (see my note), and shall continue to network. Any referrals or recommendations?
Send Insiders Out
I am constantly attending events and networking in New York, and I will absolutely share what I learn here. We also have Boston to our east. If you've gone somewhere and made connections or learned something, share the love!
Friends and colleagues, we'll get there. It is only necessary that we put forth an effort, and that we be consistent.
Also, if you are aware of anything that fits into any of above categories, please do email me or leave a comment below.