Interested in building a startup community in Cork?
I just took another look at Prof Erik Vermeulen’s Public Lecture when he visited UCC in September courtesy of InterTradeIreland. It’s available here. Do take a look!
The Professor spoke about what it takes to build a sustainable start up community. He spoke about how Eindhoven evolved from ‘Smartest Region’ to ‘Start-Up Region’ and referenced other examples such as Boulder, Colorado in the US. (Did you know that Eindhoven has a population of about 200,000 and Boulder’s is just 100,000?).
Vermeulen’s opinion is that those that try to replicate Silicon Valley will fail. (We know what the ingredients are but we don’t know the recipe!)
He highlighted a number of factors he believes are essential to build a sustainable entrepreneurial community:
- Differentiate: Successful regions will take stock of strengths and build on them. Eindhoven has built it’s success on hardware development, a strength derived from Philips considerable presence over many decades.
- Collaborate: Successful regions will have high levels of collaboration and transparency between all partners – entrepreneurs, local authorities, universities, industry, investors and service providers.
- Connect: Successful regions will be highly connected with international accelerators and VCs.
Vermeulen also referenced Brad Feld’s Boulder Thesis derived from the experience of Boulder, Colorado. (There’s a great must-watch video here.) He believes that for a sustainable start-up community:
- Entrepreneurs must lead the startup community (all others are feeders and feeders can’t be leaders)
- The leaders must have a long-term commitment (think 20 years, it’s a marathon not a sprint)
- The startup community must be inclusive of anyone who wants to participate in it (everybody brings energy)
- The startup community must have continual activities that engage the entire entrepreneurial stack (like accelerators and start-up weekends, more substantive than awards dinners and cocktail parties).
So where do you think we stand?