Earlier today I was talking with an entrepreneur that’s working on building a tech entrepreneurship center in his city. We talked about many of the lessons learned so far with the Atlanta Tech Village and drilled into several topics. At the end of the conversation I realized it would be good to summarize some of the best practices to share with others.
Here are five tips for building an entrepreneurship center:
- Community – Internal community is the most important thing, even more important than the real estate. The community needs to be curated, cultivated, and crafted.
- Values – Similar to the community piece, the entrepreneurship center needs to have strong core values that members adhere to and believe in. Things get terribly difficult with all the shared resources and amenities, so alignment of values is a must.
- Scale – The center needs to be large enough to support at least two full-time staff members and at least 50 companies (I think the sweet spot is 20,000 – 40,000 feet unless there’s tremendous demand in the community).
- Funding – Most startups need capital, so it’s important to address the funding piece of the equation, either with an associated fund or with strong third-party capital sources.
- Events – A high quality event center is critical to bring the greater community together for speakers, panels, workshops, educational programs, networking sessions, and more.
Building an entrepreneurship center isn’t easy, but it’s very rewarding. Ultimately, for the entrepreneurship center to be a winner, it needs to increase the chance of success for the entrepreneurs. Success stories are what matters.
What else? What are some other tips for building an entrepreneurship center?