Not that long ago, entrepreneurs were isolated, seen as “crazy” by friends and family who said, “Why don’t you get a real job?”
Now, being an entrepreneur is “crazy in a good way.” It’s cool to hang around at the coffee shop and toss around ideas. Funding comes not just from family connections, but also from convincing perfect strangers via crowd funding websites or in-person capital pitches. Pioneers like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have rock-star status. Co-work space is trendy, and collaboration is the word of the day.
Creating a climate in which entrepreneurs can thrive is about connections: connections to talent, connections to suppliers and vendors, connections to each other. In a welcoming community, an entrepreneur will understand that he or she is not alone. They will receive the support they need to thrive.
Today’s entrepreneurs are a critical mechanism for bringing innovative ideas to market. They also bring new uses to a local economy’s existing resources and assets. As a community, how can we identify and support these innovators that can add so much value?
Read my column published June 22, 2014 in the News and Record: "Greensboro has what it takes to encourage business pioneers" here.