Where do you go in your city/region (or online) to connect with other entrepreneurs and learn from them?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) (http://theyec.org), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab (http://mystartuplab.com/), a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
1. Co-working Spaces and Meetups
In Phoenix, we have an awesome coworking space downtown. Co+Hoots is full of entrepreneurs and creatives; they all are welcoming. Find a coworking or collaborative workspace, and entrepreneurs will be there! In my city, we also have startup incubators and local organizations that host events or meetups. Find these events via social media in your town. Ask around and join in!
My investment in Mixergy’s premium membership has paid itself back 1 million times over. I have learned so much from the interviews, the classes and the discussions. I’ve gained an MBA-type network without the $200K tag. Andrew Warner, the owner of Mixergy, is great at getting guests who can contribute tangible advice to other entrepreneurs, regardless of what industry they are in.
– Derek Capo ( ), Next Step China ( http://www.nextstepchina.org
3. Philly Startup Leaders
Philly Startup Leaders is a strong local organization that connects Philadelphia’s most successful tech innovators with aspiring entrepreneurs. PSL’s regular events allow for an environment that fosters collaboration and community education.
4. User Groups
I prefer to attend user groups for different technology, rather than straight-up entrepreneurship meetings. You’re more likely to encounter different types of entrepreneurs when you’re looking at a purely technological point of view. You can also avoid some of the super-charged networkers who aren’t quite as useful to connect with.
Meetup.com lists all local meetings for like-minded entrepreneurs, and it presents a great opportunity to learn more, expand your network and build potentially valuable business relationships.
In today’s connected world, there’s no reason you can’t show up in a city and host your own event. When I was in Phoenix, a place I’d never been, I found a few connections from Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and threw an impromptu happy hour. I asked each of them to bring a few interesting people along. Before I knew it, I was fully immersed in the Phoenix entrepreneurial community.
– Matt Wilson ( http://www.twitter.com/
7. Local Organizations
Dyn is located in a great area. In Manchester, I can go to the ABI Innovation Hub, which hosts events, contests and a founders’ series. There are also groups like the NH High Tech Council, the Manchester Young Professionals Network and Stay Work Play that bring people together to share common experiences. We live in a global world, so it’s important to stay connected beyond your own backyard.
8. Our Young Entrepreneurs’ Group
I live in a small town, Roseburg, Ore., with 35K people, but we’re creating an entrepreneurial movement here from the ground up. Four years ago, the entrepreneurial culture was struggling. But a group of us are making things happen — one of them being the Young Entrepreneurs Society we started two years ago that’s 104 members strong. Our monthly meetups and book club are awesome.
9. Silicon Prairie News
Silicon Prairie News is all about promoting, connecting and perpetuating entrepreneurship in the Midwest. Its Big Series of conferences is a great starting point for getting involved. And, of course, Silicon Prairie News’ website is worthwhile.
10. A Speakeasy for Geeks
In Indianapolis, we launched The Speak Easy — a place for Indy-based entrepreneurs, startups and the folks who support them to work, play and collaborate. It’s essentially a clubhouse for entrepreneurs, designers and geeks. Bringing these folks together in a fun, productive work environment is the surest way to accelerate the development of high-growth startups.