Cultivating Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Building Your Startup Community

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1 Cultivating Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Building Your Startup Community April 20, 2012 Michael R. Burcham The Entrepreneur Center 105 Broadway, Suite 200 Nashville, TN The Market Reality The innovation economy is literally sweeping away all the old rules of building communities. Entire industries are already being transformed (publishing, music, news) and others are in a significant state of change (retail, healthcare, manufacturing). The global marketplace is more mobile than ever. Investors and entrepreneurs want to see a community and its leadership moving to the future before allocating their time and capital. A community hoping to have a thriving Entrepreneurial Ecosystem and a sustainable economy needs to be a place that demonstrates a commitment to their entrepreneurial community. 1

2 Talking Points: I d like to begin by defining an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Tennessee Style Then Share 4 things: 1. 3 Simple Truths 2. 6 Forces that accelerate or destroy the entrepreneurial spirit 3. The 5 M s Startup DNA s to Building an Ecosystem What is an Entrepreneurial? Ecosystem? 2

3 We are building our Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: The Individuals, Organizations and Institutions outside the individual entrepreneur - that are conducive to the choice of a person to become an entrepreneur, or the probabilities of his or her success.! Think of the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem as providing fertile soil and a climate in which to seed, nurture and grow new businesses. The enablers Venture Creators Advisors & Mentors Universities Support Organizations Labor Markets Investors Are more effective when they are networked to encourage intellectual, financial and human capital to flow to enterprises at every phase of the startup journey. 3

4 We are creating the Front Door of entrepreneurial opportunity. Offering access to expertise, support and capital to launch new businesses. 3 Simple Truths What Do Startup Entrepreneurs Need? 4

5 3 Simple Truths 1. Entrepreneurs Really Need Access! To expertise via credible, capable, engaged mentors To an expanded knowledge network To seed capital To a supportive community / environment 3 Simple Truths 2. Efficient networks depend on consistent processes: Coaching & Mentoring for 1 st -time entrepreneurs Evaluate idea-stage opportunities Find high-growth potentials Accelerators can add consistency and help with launch Engagement of local and state officials to facilitate capital investments and a capital continuum 5

6 3 Simple Truths 3. Local commitment is essential: Don t just build an incubator and expect new jobs utilize the space you have Leverage your strengths invest in people, and connect them to local and regional knowledge networks 6 Forces that accelerate or destroy the entrepreneurial spirit of a community 6

7 1The Talent Index A knowledge economy is driven by educated people. Additionally, high growth entrepreneurship is magnified with the engagement of great mentors and advisors. In evaluating your community s Talent Index, key elements include: Educational institutions (colleges, universities, trade schools) Growing pool of high school graduates, bachelor degree graduates and advanced degree graduates that are interested in staying within the community and contributing to the overall entrepreneurial ecosystem Research institutions Growing pool of technology talent Access to experienced, successful entrepreneurs who will serve as Mentors and Advisors to early stage companies 2The Cultural Index One size does not fit all. Your community will need to build your Entrepreneurial Ecosystem around you own strengths. In evaluating your community s Cultural Index, key elements include: The degree to which your community encourages risk taking How does the community value of launching of a business even if it fails How often do community leaders celebrate the startup process Does your community encourage diversity and differing views entrepreneurship is inherently a contrarian activity! Number and types of meet-ups and events for the entrepreneurial and startup community 7

8 3 The Capital Index Early stage capital is ALWAYS scarce so get used to it! Building access pathways to capital for the most compelling investable stories will take time, but is an essential part of any entrepreneurial community. In evaluating your community s Capital Index, key elements include: Presence of seed capital and angel financing - and a growing angel community Lending and banking organizations focused on entrepreneurial ventures An active SBA that is connected with the community Access to venture capital Active and engaged private foundations 4The Infrastructure Index Few startups can succeed without great support and reasonable infrastructure. This is a wide area for discussion and should be as inclusive as possible. In evaluating your community s Infrastructure Index, key elements include: The engagement in the process by local universities and trade schools. The degree of support and engagement of attorneys, accountants, advisors, bankers, outsourcing firms (HR, Payroll), Chambers, local industry trade groups. The visible support of serial entrepreneurs, and experts on topics such as operations, marketing, sales, and financial modeling. Basic infrastructure access such as broadband networks, logistics, transportation and reasonably priced work space. 8

9 5 The Community Index Unlike other countries, where business policy is centrally planned, in the US, many policies and decisions are shaped & implemented at the local level. There are 74,000 local governments. Local leaders must deliberately choose to invest in the future, be entrepreneurial and build the partnerships necessary to harness the strengths of the community. In evaluating your Community Index, key elements include: The single most important factor to get right is education Access to affordable housing Quality of Life Arts, Diversity, Parks, Sense of Community Tolerance for Risk Taking A progressive, entrepreneurial mindset of leaders 6 The Regulatory Index Government can serve a significant role in removing barriers to entrepreneurship and being a collaborator with the various organizations and individuals who will invest their time, expertise and capital to create the local Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. In evaluating your community s Regulatory Index, key elements include: Focus on economic development Public infrastructure logistics, transportation, housing Tax policy that encourages entrepreneurship and early-stages investment Community and government leadership that is supportive of innovation and entrepreneurship Government support of an R&D climate Cost of living 9

10 A Community must evaluate and understand these forces and determine if they currently encourage or discourage entrepreneurship within the community. If you want total clarity simply Ask the Entrepreneurs Community Index Regulatory Index Infrastructure Index Talent Index Capital Index Cultural Index 5 M s Entrepreneurial DNA 10

11 The 3 Most Important elements of a startup:" " 1. People" 2. People" 3. People" Momentum Management Money Model Market Entrepreneurship is a Group Sport So how does this make money? Momentum Management Money Model If the entrepreneur s shiny object doesn t make money, then it is art, not a business Market 11

12 Early Customers are ESSENTIAL to Success! Momentum Management Money Model Market Reaching a target market will likely involve some form of social media. Where is the Break Even Point? Careful cash management is essential for success. Momentum Money Management Model Market 12

13 The 1 st 100 Days set the pace Startups have less money than competitors. They have fewer employees. There are fewer people focused on things like marketing, sales, and product development. Resources are scarce! Momentum Management Money Model Market The right team doing the right things in the right structural alignment is essential The 6 Forces that accelerate or destroy the entrepreneurial spirit of a community The 5 M s Entrepreneurial DNA 13

14 10 Critical s in building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem 1 Ecosystem Leadership: Change doesn t happen without a champion, nor will a community reinvent its economy overnight! Leadership can come from the public or private sector from an individual or a group but it requires someone to: Visualize the result Make it real. Execute! Begin to identify the stakeholders & resources needed to move forward Leadership needs to be sustained and committed to the long term. The work will extend beyond the term of an elected official, often requiring decades to succeed. 14

15 2 Ecosystem Engage Stakeholders Early in a Conversation Get together a small but powerful coalition of committed leaders. Engage the community in Intentional Conversation about what you wish to accomplish, the opportunity and the process to engage all the key stakeholders: Entrepreneurs Investors & Lenders Universities and Educational Leaders Community Leaders and Government Officials Accelerators, Incubators, SBA, SCORE and Other Entrepreneurship Development Organizations Business Community & Mentors 3 Ecosystem Align Your Community Vision for Success One needs to know where one is going in order to get there! Get a clear focus on realistic and accessible entrepreneurship for your community. Ensure your definitions of success match then set measurable goals and objectives for your market Allocate the financial resources required. We used public & private match dollars (goal of 50% public dollars / 50% private). Put together a dedicated team of results oriented individuals who embody the entrepreneurial spirit and make them accountable for results. Focus on the critical areas for success: flow of startups, capital, mentors, and local businesses willing to be the 1 st customers. 15

16 4 Ecosystem Secure Community Support: $ and Time Engage investor, business and community partner support in both dollars and time. Actions are more important than words. Become the face of entrepreneurship in your community presenting to every organized group and function with whom you can get an audience. Solicit their engagement and active support. 5 Ecosystem Identify a Front Door for Entrepreneurs It s important to identify for your community where one can find the front door for entrepreneurship. This doesn t necessarily mean that all the resources are under roof. It does, however, require that you have a physical or virtual location through which startups can gain access, identify community resources, and network with the individuals who can help transform their idea into a real business. 16

17 6Ecosystem Concentrate Your Efforts on the Essential Ingredients for Success Process for Screening Ideas Identifying High Growth Opportunities Engagement by Seasoned / Successful Entrepreneurs Business Modeling Seed Capital Training and Mentoring Startup Tools 7 Ecosystem Identify & Support the Gazelles While being as inclusive as possible, the true drivers of change in a community are the growth-oriented companies. These fast growing organizations create jobs, enrich the local economy and raise awareness of the community s growing ecosystem. As these startups have success, they both inspire others to dare to dream and become drivers of change. We allocate our resources based upon the opportunity and the strength of the concept brought by the entrepreneur. We rank the startups we meet as A s, B s, and C s Focus the majority of our time on the A s 17

18 8 Ecosystem Address The Culture Anything you can do to help accelerate specific success stories will help stimulate your entrepreneurial ecosystem. Remember that success breeds success. Successful entrepreneurs are often the mentors, board members, and angel investors of early startups. The ecosystem thrives in a culture that: Encourages risk taking Legitimizes the value of launching a business Celebrates the startup process and the creation of a new business Encourage diversity and differing views entrepreneurship is inherently a contrarian activity! 8 Ecosystem continued Address The Culture Regular gatherings and events that bring entrepreneurs together with other components of the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem can be a powerful way to begin to transform your community Meet ups Pitch Days Forums and Educational Events Startup Weekends 18

19 9 Ecosystem Connect and Create A Funding Pipeline The access to capital will be the make or break issue at some point. Most entrepreneurs bootstrap their own early capital but often, having some small seed or angel capital can make the difference in getting a prototype finished to share with early adopter customers. Things to do: Identify sources of seed capital ($5,000 - $25,000) Identify and get to know any area angel investors Be sure to link your activity into the larger investment community perhaps even outside your community or state 10 Ecosystem Build Connections Between the Large Companies & Startups Don t push the idea of clusters too hard. Every government seems to have a cluster strategy and believes it will create entrepreneurial success that s rarely the case. Lasting business clusters are built around entrepreneurs. It s the entrepreneurs who create business and industry presence in a community simply naming a cluster does not breed successful entrepreneurship. Focus your energy on linking startups in your community with the larger industries engage them. Discuss innovation and industry transformation, technology and tools. New ideas, startups and relationships will likely emerge. This helps get the 1 st customers for new businesses Locally! 19

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