'An ecosystem is not taking someone by the hand'
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'An ecosystem is not taking someone by the hand'

Is a good ecosystem indispensable for a startup? And what should such an ecosystem actually look like? Get the answers to these and other questions about startup ecosystems in the third episode of NOM Talks, the podcast on topics facing entrepreneurs. From agility to innovation, funding to employees. Topics covering all phases of entrepreneurship.

Networking for (young) entrepreneurs is of all times. So what makes an ecosystem for startups so different? The variety of components, as evidenced by all the facilities that come up in the conversation. An ecosystem is much more than a network, according to guests Janneke Hadders(Dacom) and Robert-Jan Verheggen(Klippa). And an ecosystem should be there. Because, says Hadders: ''You can't develop a company without the outside world.'' They are "places where startups develop into the next phase," Verheggen adds. Necessary good. That's where podcast host Wim A,B. and sidekick Rob Drees agree.

''Does such an ecosystem have a phone number or address?'' On the face of it, a funny question from moderator A,B., but one to which a serious undertone applies. Indeed, the question indicates how difficult it is to facilitate a functioning ecosystem for startups. For example, offering different facilities and physical locations does not make an ecosystem, Verheggen's anecdotes show. Moreover, he says, in preparation for this podcast, he came across "things in the North that I had never heard of, but which are interesting for startups. For completeness, Klippa has been building since 2015.

Advice for leveraging entrepreneurship

So what does it take to make an ecosystem work? Compare it to a computer: to make it run, you need both hardware and software. Facilities as well as people make an ecosystem work.

Brad Felt knows better than anyone how to build that. How to combine hardware and software. The American is an investor and co-founder of Techstars, the parent organization of globally organized Startup Weekends. In these, teams of designers, business developers and programmers develop an idea for a startup within 72 hours, often with a working prototype, guided by coaches from the business community. A pressure cooker for startup plans. Fun fact: Startup Weekend Groningen was long considered one of the best in Europe.

In 2012, Felt wrote the first edition of his book "Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City,' based on his experiences in building a startup community in his hometown of Boulder, Colorado. Last year he published "The Startup Community Way: Evolving an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. Both offer practical advice for stakeholders who want to harness the power of entrepreneurship in their cities.

Giving without expectations

The same principles underlie Felt's two books: entrepreneurs (i.e., not government or education) run the ecosystem, leaders have a long-term commitment, it is inclusive for all who want to contribute, and there are ongoing community activities involving the entire entrepreneurial community. Only if these conditional principles stand is there a chance of success.

Startup communities are complex, adaptive systems; unpredictable by nature. Therefore, according to Felt, important are different roles within the ecosystem: leaders, feeders, and instigators. Leaders, feeders, and instigators. Entrepreneurs are always the leaders. Other roles are for education, governments, employees, and media, for example. Other conditions are resources like capital and knowledge, and factors for connection: ideas, skills, network, and diversity of talent, to name a few.

But the most important thing in an ecosystem is giving. Giving, giving, giving and maybe only then asking. Or not at all. Because, Felt says, it only works if you can help others without expecting anything in return. The most important thing of all is being able to put your ego aside if you want to be part of such an ecosystem.

You don't become an entrepreneur

So where does that ultimately lead? Verheggen: ,,A safe environment, so you stay on the right path, keep growing and don't have to focus on the peripheral issues. But that doesn't mean taking someone by the hand.'' You are an entrepreneur, you don't become one, Verheggen argues. Hadders agrees: ''It's a drive you feel. Around you grab the elements you need to be an entrepreneur. If things are taken care of on that outside, things can go a little faster. But the road of entrepreneurship never goes over roses.''

In an ecosystem, peripheral issues are facilitated. What practical things are needed in any case, according to our entrepreneurial guests, you can hear in the third episode of NOM Talks.

NOM Talks Episode 4

In the fourth episode of NOM Talks, Robert Reekers(ConnectoRR) and Weite Oldenziel(Ofichem) are guests. They will discuss the topic "Supervisors, an enrichment or restriction?". The fourth episode of NOM Talks can be listened to from April 29 via the NOM website, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Anchor, Pocket Casts, Breaker and Radio Public.

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