I think everyone passionate about their community and startups asks the question. What are the roles needed within a startup community ecosystem to be successful?
Building startups for the last 8 years (within different communities) and working with Startup America Partnership the last few months has given me some great perspective to take a stab at this question.
Members of strong startup community ecosystems stay involved and add value by playing a wide variety of roles. In designing a startup ecosystem or strengthening an existing one, companies should incorporate an assortment of roles into the community structure and help members take on new roles as their needs change.
Below are 17 roles that I’ve put together as being critical to a any ecosystems function, preservation, and evolution. Please add your comments below. I’m not saying I’m an expert, just throwing out some ideas.
- Mentor: Teaches others and shares expertise.
- Investors: Invests in all stages of startups: seed, early, and growth.
- Learner: Enjoys learning and seeks self-improvement
- Back-Up/Supporter: Acts as a safety net for others when they try new things, take risks, fail. And they participate passively as an audience for others.
- Partner: Encourages, shares, and motivates others to build high growth companies.
- Storyteller: Spreads the community’s success stories throughout the community, state, and nation.
- Historian: Preserves community memory; codifies rituals and rites
- Hero: Acts as a role model within the community. Someone to look up too. Someone who has been there done that.
- Decision Maker: Makes choices affecting the community’s structure and function
- Provider: Hosts and takes care of the other members
- Greeter: Welcomes new members into the community
- Guide: Helps new members navigate the culture
- Catalyst: Introduces members to new people and ideas
- Performer: Takes the spotlight and serves as a figurehead or icon of what the startup community represents
- Ambassador: Promotes the community to outsiders
- Accountant: Keeps track of people’s participation
- Talent Scout: Recruits new members
What other roles are necessary within a startup ecosystem?