Hey, ecosystems were originally a biology thing, so how did they become a business thing?
For those of you who in biology class chose to daydream about starting a business, ecosystems are communities in which each member supports the other by forming a symbiotic relationship.
This is exactly what entrepreneurs are implementing in their world.
Competition has always been considered the main driver for progress. Truth is, competition and collaboration go hand-in-hand – especially in the new millennium.
That’s why start-ups and other organizations are banding together all of a sudden to create start-up ecosystems. But what are they anyway?
What is a Start-up Ecosystem?
A Start-up Ecosystem is formed by individuals, start-ups and various organisations, with the aim to create and/or support start-up companies.
These ecosystems can be local or can function remotely.
“Why not just stick to one organisation for support?” one may ask.
Well, I don’t know, would you go to a shoemaker to get your hair done?
Or to your hairdresser to check your blood pressure? Would you?
No, you certainly would not. Different start-ups already have diverse needs, and a single start-up will also notice its needs changing from one development stage to another.
This is where diversity comes in handy. Members of an ecosystem have complementary abilities that guide start-ups through the stages of their lifecycle.
Who and what you’ll find in a Start-up Ecosystem
Amongst other things, you’ll find:
- Ideas, inventions and research
- Start-ups at various stages
- Start-up team members
- Angel investors
- Start-up mentors
- Start-up advisors
- Third party people from other organizations that offer start-up related activities
Other organizations that offer start-up-related activities
It’s not just your usual sources, you’ll find start-up related activities at:
- Mentoring organizations
- Coworking spaces
- Service providers (consulting, accounting, legal, etc.)
- Event organizers
- Start-up competitions
- Investor networks
- Venture capital companies
- Crowdfunding portals
- Funding providers (loans, grants etc.)
- Start-up blogs & other media
Benefits for Start-ups
There’s a phrase that we’ve all heard at least once in our lives.
👉 90% of start-ups fail.
It’s the wild west out there, and start-ups need to form alliances to stay above snakes (that’s ol’ western talk for “staying alive”).
To have a shot at becoming successful, start-ups need access to financial and professional resources, as well as a network of experienced entrepreneurs and the support of government policies.
Organized events can lead to meaningful interactions with like-minded people, which pave the way for multiple opportunities.
Start-ups can, for example, attract their oh-so-elusive talent.
Talent shortages leave start-ups completely parched.
But, through start-up events, individuals from bigger companies could engage with smaller start-ups and feel the urge to make the jump, thus ensuring a steady flow of talent.
In addition to talent, start-ups need mentoring.
I hate to break it to you, but no one is born with the skills to become a successful entrepreneur.
You’re learning all the time – even now!
An entrepreneurial ecosystem accelerates the learning process by putting you in contact with other entrepreneurs.
Even among new start-ups, it’s good to share experiences and common problems to solve them together.
But together where? Finding a location to develop ideas is often difficult for start-up companies.
That’s also why co-working spaces are popping up all over the globe. These spaces, which are also a part of the ecosystem, provide start-ups with a “safe house” of sorts.
That said, some ecosystems function remotely, as more traditional locations can make it difficult to collaborate with the right people. Not every locality has venture capital!
Luckily, we’re almost in 2020! Technology is all the rage, and the virtual world is our co-working space and source of financing.
This creates an environment of grand opportunity for growth, even if some elements of the ecosystem are missing locally. What’s more, start-ups aren’t the only ones to benefit from ecosystems.
Benefits for the Local Economy
Governments are focusing on nurturing start-up ecosystems to boost the urban economy. Successful ecosystems of this nature have several positive impacts.
With the current ease of travel, top talent often embarks on a voyage to find better economies elsewhere if their country isn’t serving them adequately.
“Human capital flight” is dangerous and can cripple a country by draining it of its brightest minds.
I guess that’s why it’s also called ‘brain drain’.
Take Italy for example. Economic stagnation may have a variety of causes, but a contributor is certainly the emigration of youngsters who seek to put their skills to good use.
The most talented graduates and professional workers are running for the hills without looking back – and Italy is having to deal with the damage.
Start-up ecosystems create a vibrant work environment that ensures you retain top talent and attract skilled workers from other locations.
Ah yes, job creation, you probably saw this coming.
New jobs are an inevitable product of start-up growth. The more your business grows, the more employees you need.
But ecosystems don’t just nurture the growth of start-ups. They trigger the creation of the supporting organizations, which also need employees to function!
Cities that nurture their tech start-up ecosystems perceive great benefits in terms of technological progress. The end-product of all start-up ecosystems is innovation, and innovation greatly improves the quality of life. A successful start-up ecosystem brings innovation to the urban area.
So, start-up ecosystems drive innovation, boost the economy and overall improve the quality of life. It seems a bit too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, creating a start-up ecosystem doesn’t come without its challenges.
Bringing together these entities and making them function symbiotically requires massive amounts of effort and organization.
As we move towards the next decade, let’s not just hope that the process becomes easier and more rewarding on a global scale – let’s work towards it!
💜 Happy Planning!
From Emma at immerj