A core objective in economic development practice is business creation.Regardless of the entrepreneurs intention for commercial profit or social good, small business is the sector of the U.S. marketplace that produces over half of the economy and is the perennial new job engine. Entrepreneurs need catalytic programs to energize the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. Triad Startup Lab creates businesses because it is part of the business development cluster in Greensboro.
Greensboro has always been supportive of its entrepreneurs. Historically The Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship has been our cornerstone incubator and has served the community since 1987. Demonstrating a stellar track record and having housed over 387 businesses and helping to create more than 2,500 jobs in the past 25 years. That is impressive in light of the fact it was the only Entrepreneurial Support Organization (ESO) in Greensboro until 2013.
The Greensboro Partnership created the Entrepreneur Connection (GP-EC) in 2013. Since entrepreneurs need mentoring and advice from other entrepreneurs and having a healthy network with lots of linkages and connections increases the chances of communications and sharing between them the Entrepreneur Connection was created to lead the community in creating opportunities for these exchanges and developmental programs that have transformed the ecosystem.
The Business Development Cluster in Greensboro – Triad Startup Lab creates businesses.In her recent work published by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), Business Development Cluster (BDC) expert Carol Kraus-Lauffer describes a minimum of core activities for Entrepreneurial Support Organizations (ESOs) seeking to energize entrepreneurship and business creation:
What Entrepreneurs Need:
Greensboro has a business development cluster.
Greensboro’s entrepreneurial culture is expanding and changing at a rapid pace. The recent addition of three new ESPs boosted Greensboro’s entrepreneurial ecosystem resulting in a Business Development Cluster.
In August 2014 the Entrepreneur Connection launched its first cohort of 20 startup entrepreneurs when the Triad Startup Lab business accelerator was initiated. Then in November of that same year Action Greensboro and the Entrepreneur Connection collaborated with community businesses and funding partners to open doors on the cities first coworking space: co//ab. At the same time Greensboro got a Makerspace, called the The Forge.
Programing Catalyzes the Business Development Cluster
The catalyst for success is the community programs and activities that provide the network and linkage between the entrepreneurs.
Pitch Competitions such as SLAM!, Start Up Weekends, Business Plan Competitions, and Startup Accelerators programs are the core activities that catalyze the entrepreneurial community.
Greensboro has the complete infrastructure to support a Business Development Cluster. And in May 2015 Wallethub ranked Greensboro the #9 best place in the US to start a small business because we have the Entrepreneurial Support Platforms and Organizations that small business need to accelerate small business creation.
By Joel Bennett
Silicon Valley, watch out: Greensboro is making a name for itself as a startup city!
Local startups are finding funding, education and support as more and more entrepreneur-centric programs surface. Ryan Pratt, founder and CEO of Greensboro Startup GuerillaRF was selected to present his company and pitch to a room full of investors at the Greensboro Partnership Entrepreneur Connections annual showcase event. “In two years, we have raised $3.5M,” says Pratt about his recent funding campaigns, “most of which came through contacts made at Capital Connects. I strongly recommend this event for early stage startups seeking funding.”
Capital Connects is a showcase event presented by the Entrepreneur Connection that highlights promising ventures to local funding sources. Startups who have presented at Capital Connects have gone on to raise funding from local investors to the tune of over $9.5M.
Meg Ragland is the co-founder of Plum Print, located in Asheville NC. After making the trip to present at Greensboro’s Capital Connects last year, Plum Print connected with several strategic partners “It’s true: you never know who is in the audience when you pitch your business!” proclaims Ragland. “The day after the event we heard from an angel investor who had been in the crowd, who was ready to write us a check!”
Greensboro has witnessed an explosion of entrepreneurial activity in the past year, and has created a business development cluster rivaling those of larger cities. These new platforms includes a new downtown maker space, the launch of Triad Startup Lab business accelerator two more downtown co-working spaces and the established business incubator at the Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship.
Others are taking note of Greensboro’s rising entrepreneurial community: Last week The Startup Factory(Durham, NC) announced a 3-day startup bootcamp to be hosted here in December. Venture backed programs like The Startup Factory that seek to identify our local talent and bring successful investment opportunities to bear high returns.
By April Harris
One thing I love about living in Greensboro is the numbers of times I hear other people say, “I love living here.” We are all truly fortunate. Greensboro has beautiful parks and greenways, easy commutes, friendly people, a wealth of educational and cultural opportunities, and a vibrant downtown. It’s a city that’s easy to live in and easy to love.
At the same time, I am increasingly disheartened by the way we make decisions about growth and development. There’s something very wrong about decisions made in a reactive rather than proactive manner, when long-term choices are forced into a short-term pressure cooker of emotions and deadlines.
For the third time in three years, my neighbors in Starmount Forest, Hobbs Landing, Wedgewood, and beyond are dealing with a rezoning request on Friendly Avenue that will change our neighborhood forever. We are deeply involved in the decisions because we believe they will have a long term impact on traffic movement, pedestrian safety, property values, and overall quality of life in the city we love. Yet, each time it always comes down to a winner and a loser. Why does it have to be this way?
From an OpEd published in the Greensboro News and Record. Read the rest here.
(Greensboro, NC) What if you and I invested in a Greensboro innovation that resolved a health problem for 3 million Americans and 57 million people worldwide? Well, we did--and there’s much more where that came from. As taxpayers, you and I invest in the State of North Carolina university system, and Greensboro’s two state universities – the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and North Carolina A&T State University – are hard at work providing us with a return on that investment. Beyond education and research, part of our return comes in the form of commercialization: taking university research and applying it to technologies that bring new products to market.
And that’s where the 3 million Americans come in. NCA&T recently announced the development of a process that removes 98% of the allergens in roasted peanuts. The hypoallergenic peanuts look and taste just like ordinary roasted peanuts, retain their nutritional value, and can be consumed whole, in pieces, or ground into flour.
This is great news for people with severe allergic reactions to peanuts. And it’s great news for NCA&T. Read more here.
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.
Creativity is a crucial competency to navigate today’s “new normal.” Leaders are expected to effectively manage growing complexities and advance innovative processes within their organizations. Creative leaders will experience success when they are more willing to challenge assumptions, drop outdated approaches, and experiment with new models.
In 2012, IBM asked 1500 CEOs from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide what traits are most necessary to navigate our increasingly complex working environment. The characteristic of creativity outweighed all other traits in the survey, including rigor, management discipline, integrity, and even vision.
To find out what the vice president of business systems at VF Corp learned from the artistic director of Triad Stage, read my column “In business as in theater, creativity is imperative” News and Record published April 28, 2014. Read more.
When I initially contemplated the notion of writing a year’s worth of columns for the local paper on creativity and innovation, I did what all good staffers at my office did when confronted with a new idea: I stepped across the hall and consulted our most trusted adviser to all new ideas: our office manager Judy Morton. Judy had been there since the early, early days and she has an innate organizational and community compass that is our touchstone.
I explained to Judy my curiosity about local companies who are forging new directions, and she simply replied, “You are looking for the bongo factor.” She explains it like this: All other things being equal, if there’s someone who can play the bongos when no one else can, that’s the distinction that propels them to success. The bongo factor wakes the brain; makes you take notice. I like to think of it as a differentiator among competitors.
For a great example of the bongo factor click "Read More" below.
While it may at times seem spontaneous, innovation is actually a very complicated process. Aha! moments actually emerge from hours of thought and study. A chaos of thoughts are processed and prioritized in the brain, and then entered into our working memory, ready to connect and help solve a problem that has been recognized.
The mind produces new ideas not so much through a flash of brilliance, but through a neural process by which brain cells sift through hundreds of ideas. However, we may be unaware of the progression because the experience of insight is sudden and can seem disconnected from the immediately preceding thought.
An innovator tends to embrace his or her subconscious and the endless flow of information that occurs in the brain. Determined, hard-working and open-minded people will find a solution to a given problem if they are aware of what they want to accomplish, focus on success ... and trust their brains.