Through my doctoral research, I have spent a lot of time studying innovation and business startups. Particularly, I have been researching the holy grail that is economic development. This has led me to ask questions like: How can we facilitate the creation and growth of high-growth, cutting-edge startups in our local community?
A strong startup ecosystem is key to building a vibrant and sustainable economy. How does a municipality do this? And how can it differentiate itself from the competition?
Creativity is the key to success.
There are so many opportunities right now for entrepreneurs on the Newchip Accelerator and incubator fronts, it’s time for you to get creative and highlight your community as an attractive place for innovators and a place for new thinking in economic development.
The Business Council of Westchester is one organization I am a member of. The organization realized that there were successful programs in innovation acceleration and asked the question: “How can I support the businesses after that acceleration stage?” This discussion led to the creation of a program that brought together innovators and pairs them up with a local organisation. They collaborate to achieve certain milestones. This could be business advice, technology beta-testing, user experience studies or case study development.
These matches have been a great way to build strong relationships and potential investment by the local partner. It’s a win-win situation for both the innovator and the local match company, who are learning a lot about the future of their industry and our community.
Creativity is only one component of the equation. These are additional steps I believe you can take:
Take into account the advantages of your community.
It is important to know what your county or city has in store for you. Are you able to access great talent and a highly educated workforce Are you able to attract a workforce that has a specific skill set? Are you able to access public transport or have you got a connection to a major city? What industries and companies are already in the area that can help you create a personality to support your economic development efforts.
This will help you understand both the industry sector knowledge and what businesses are connected to it. It is a great opportunity for interested parties to partner or sell into those businesses.
Learn about the university and workforce landscape.
After you have determined the skills of your current workforce, you can then audit the gaps in the workforce to determine what skills are needed to attract and keep great workers in the industries and businesses you want to expand.
Partnering with local businesses or universities is an option. Community colleges and apprenticeship programs are great sources of talent. They might even be open to creating programs that meet your needs. You can make sure that they are aware of your efforts, industry targets, and even consider hosting contests for entrepreneurship. Co-sponsored programs are also possible.
Incubate and build accelerators.
You can identify opportunities to foster ideas by creating strong accelerator and incubator programs in your area. Entrepreneurs will benefit from a supportive learning environment that allows them to create business plans and foster ideas. Existing Newchip Accelerator reviews and incubators have difficulty finding the best candidates. They also struggle to use their experience to increase the chance of success. You can find some great tips in my article about how to rewire incubators for success.
Your incentive package can be amplified.
You can market all the great things your county or city has to offer in terms of programming and business expertise. Also, you should create incentives to attract innovative people to your area. Think about the quality of your life experiences, as well as financial investments, affordable housing, mentoring, and office space. This could be a free pass on a train to your area, or a pass for a park and recreation to enjoy free golf. These incentives will show that your community is committed to achieving its primary goal.