Collaboration and mutual success. These are not new concepts, but ones that continue to prove themselves hard to execute; particularly when money is at stake and scarcity mindsets and silos thrive. Aristotle tells us “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and another popular proverb of unknown origin says, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” My graduate school thesis was titled Ecosystem as Entity and explored the same phenomenon. Moral of the story, Upstate New York and its entrepreneurship ecosystem in particular, is finally realizing that the chances of success continue to increase the more we learn how to better communicate, share, and collaborate.
One example of this progress is the formation of the Innovation Connectors group in Syracuse, NY whose mission is to support, engage, and connect CNY’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Founded in the beginning of 2017, the purpose of this group is to have a representative from organizations in the local entrepreneurship ecosystem come together to consistently share best practices, build alliances, discuss frustrations and successes, ask for help and input, and coordinate schedules and events. I’m happy to report that, so far, there have been consistent and productive monthly meetings where all of the above have taken place.
The Funding Roadmap, a two part conversation, is one result of these meetings. The represented organizations all shared the same observation that many entrepreneurs come to them expressing financial needs, but are simply unaware of the funding opportunities available to them. The Funding Roadmap was a collaboratively planned event created to provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to hear about a variety of topics related to financing their startups from entrepreneurs who have gone through it and individuals who have done the funding. Part One took place at The Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse one September 26th and Part Two was held on October 2nd at The CNY Biotech Accelerator. The overall event features panels, speakers, networking opportunities, and a demo alley.
The current organizations represented within the Innovation Connectors are The Tech Garden, Upstate Venture Connect, the CNY BioTech Accelerator, InSourcing, The Blackstone Launchpad at Syracuse University, the Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship, WISE Women’s Business Center, CenterState CEO, TDO, Launch NY, The Manufacturers Association (MACNY), MedTech, Score, Small Business Administration (SBA), Small Business Development Center (SBDC), South Side Innovation Center (SSIC), Syracuse CoWorks, SUNY ESF, and Syracuse CoE.
As a member of the Innovation Connectors, I look forward to observing and being part of the continued progress and inclusion of the organizations in Syracuse and Central New York. As the Innovation Connectors fortify its own method of increased communication and collaboration, it will look to branch out to its neighbors in Upstate New York and continue learning from and sharing with them. The ultimate goal is to for Upstate New York (with a personal bias towards Central New York) to be seen and branded as an entrepreneurial destination. A perfect storm of opportunity, high quality of life, low cost of living, and the resources, funding, talent, and mentorship needed for aspiring entrepreneurs to thrive.
And so, with the formation of the Innovation Connectors, the tides keep on rising and the whole grows greater. ☺