Personal View: Entrepreneurs, Small Business Owners Know Nobody Grows Alone

In 2015, JumpStart launched a festival-style summer event called Startup Scaleup. Our idea was to bring together all the different people we work with — tech founders, investors, small business owners, corporate leaders, public sector leaders and the heads of major philanthropic and nonprofit organizations.

Clearly these people have different goals and objectives in their day jobs, but they’re also important actors and stakeholders in the growth of our entrepreneurial economy. We hoped they would appreciate an opportunity to connect, learn and discuss some of the big issues affecting all of us. I’m happy to say, I think Startup Scaleup has helped create an environment to establish and advance these conversations.

Each year as we planned this event, we discussed the most important themes and trends we’ve observed in the Northeast Ohio entrepreneurial ecosystem. This year, we identified two major themes — the loneliness of entrepreneurship and the power of a great team to help create success.

If you’ve ever been a founder or a small business owner, I don’t have to tell you entrepreneurship can be a very lonely endeavor. It takes incredible effort and focus to grow a company from the ground up. It sometimes feels like it’s you against the world.

And yet, no one ever succeeds alone. Whether it’s a knowledgeable mentor, a deep-pocketed investor or a few key hires at the right time, the connections you make, the knowledge you gain and the teams you build along the way are ultimately what determine your outcome.

This year, Startup Scaleup, which takes place on Tuesday, June 26, at Gordon Square, is about making it easier to make important connections, amass knowledge and build successful teams. It’s also about coming together to celebrate our successes as a region, while remaining honest about our current challenges and realizing the two are often intertwined. For example:

Today, we have a more diverse range of startups and small businesses in our region than we have had in many decades — from medical devices and consumer apps to fast-growing fashion and food brands. Yet, we need many more firms, and we need to do more to connect the entrepreneurs behind these companies — not only to investors, advisers and customers, but often to each other.

Read the full story at Crain’s Cleveland Business.