Greensboro has always been supportive of its entrepreneurs. Historically The Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship has been our cornerstone incubator and has served the community since 1987. Demonstrating a stellar track record and having housed over 387 businesses and helping to create more than 2,500 jobs in the past 25 years. That is impressive in light of the fact it was the only Entrepreneurial Support Organization (ESO) in Greensboro until 2013.
The Greensboro Partnership created the Entrepreneur Connection (GP-EC) in 2013. Since entrepreneurs need mentoring and advice from other entrepreneurs and having a healthy network with lots of linkages and connections increases the chances of communications and sharing between them the Entrepreneur Connection was created to lead the community in creating opportunities for these exchanges and developmental programs that have transformed the ecosystem.
The Business Development Cluster in Greensboro – Triad Startup Lab creates businesses.In her recent work published by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), Business Development Cluster (BDC) expert Carol Kraus-Lauffer describes a minimum of core activities for Entrepreneurial Support Organizations (ESOs) seeking to energize entrepreneurship and business creation:
What Entrepreneurs Need:
- Mentoring and advice
- Linkages and connections
- Access to markets customers
- Access to capital
- Maker Space
- Business Plan Competitions catalyze the cluster
Greensboro has a business development cluster.
Greensboro’s entrepreneurial culture is expanding and changing at a rapid pace. The recent addition of three new ESPs boosted Greensboro’s entrepreneurial ecosystem resulting in a Business Development Cluster.
In August 2014 the Entrepreneur Connection launched its first cohort of 20 startup entrepreneurs when the Triad Startup Lab business accelerator was initiated. Then in November of that same year Action Greensboro and the Entrepreneur Connection collaborated with community businesses and funding partners to open doors on the cities first coworking space: co//ab. At the same time Greensboro got a Makerspace, called the The Forge.
Programing Catalyzes the Business Development Cluster
The catalyst for success is the community programs and activities that provide the network and linkage between the entrepreneurs.
Pitch Competitions such as SLAM!, Start Up Weekends, Business Plan Competitions, and Startup Accelerators programs are the core activities that catalyze the entrepreneurial community.
- The Triad Startup Lab Business Startup Accelerator (first launched in May 2014) is now in its third cohort and will have accelerated over 50 startup and early-stage companies thru 2015.
- co//ab is the first downtown coworking space that opened in November 2014 and is also energizing the startup community having recently hosted Startup Weekend (#TriadSW), Business Plan Competitions and many other programs including Code for Greensboro and the monthly SLAM! events.
- SLAM! is a monthly Pitch Competition outreach program that has engaged more than 400 members of the community witnessing almost 100 new business idea pitches since November 2013.
- GP-EC publishes the Greensboro Startup News (digital) and is read by more than 1,000 people each month. Other programs include InnovateHER, Capital Connects, and Inventors Liftoff.
- The Forge is Greensboro’s makerspace and attracts a community of creative people interested in 3-D printing, machining, woodworking and crafts – they have 140 paid members. The GP-EC now holds SLAM! events at The Forge as well called Slam-n-eggs every other month.
- In addition H/Q Greensboro (a new 10k square foot for profit coworking space) will open in August 2015 and is expected to magnify the amount of startups and entrepreneurial activity in the community.
Greensboro has the complete infrastructure to support a Business Development Cluster. And in May 2015 Wallethub ranked Greensboro the #9 best place in the US to start a small business because we have the Entrepreneurial Support Platforms and Organizations that small business need to accelerate small business creation.