Earlier today I was talking with a few civic leaders in Atlanta on the topic of how to grow the region’s startup community. We discussed several of the current trends, including the rise of entrepreneurship centers around town (e.g. the Atlanta Tech Village), more focus on creative space by local commercial real estate firms, and general excitement around entrepreneurship. I then offered up three ideas to grow the Atlanta startup community:
- Entrepreneur Education – Run programs from the Kauffman Foundation and others on a regular basis in different parts of the city. These programs would be much more in-depth and hands-on for entrepreneurs to learn new business skills and build relationships with other entrepreneurs and mentors in town.
- Connect Local Businesses and Startups – Most mid-to-large companies in the area don’t have a good understanding of the technology innovation taking place in their own city. The idea is to run regular programs where curated groups of startups present in front of local companies (cash from customers is always the best type of cash for startups).
- Elevate Successes to the National Stage – While there are a number of great entrepreneurial success stories, very few are known nationally — southern charm makes for a humble city. More showcasing of success stories will result in more credibility and interest from investors.
So, there you have it: educate the entrepreneurs, make it easy for businesses to buy local tech, and get the megaphone out for the success stories. Atlanta has all the ingredients to be a top 10 tech startup city and is on the way to realizing its potential.
What else? What are some other ideas to grow the Atlanta startup community?