One of the regularly debated topics is government’s role in the startup community. According to the Bolder Thesis, successful startup communities have to be entrepreneur-led, and not government- or nonprofit-led. A common government initiative is to try and help with capital (see the Invest Georgia Fund). Except more capital doesn’t create more investable opportunities. More successful startups creates more investable opportunities.
There’s one immediate way government can help the startup community: connecting local businesses with entrepreneurs. Customer acquisition is the number one challenge for startups. Local businesses, especially larger employers, actively work to maintain strong ties with the government to help keep the region moving forward. These relationships between government and influential employers are perfect to parlay into a “Buy Local” campaign.
Imagine events similar to the ATDC Industry Connect whereby select businesses are assembled to hear pitches from a curated group of startups. Much like Y Combinator’s Demo Day, a combination of product demos and networking enables a more efficient exchange of information so that buyers and sellers can connect. Even a tiny percentage of the purchasing power of local businesses has the potential to create more jobs and help successful startups.
What else? What are your thoughts on government helping connect local businesses with local entrepreneurs so as to help the startup community?