Kicking off the Startup America Summit in Boulder, CO

Happy Monday! The Startup America Partnership Summit kicks off today here in Boulder, CO and I’m ready to meetup with some rock star entrepreneurs.

Boulder is a beautiful place, and it’s one of the leading startup communities with Techstars, the Foundry Group, and others.

Over a hundred or so entrepreneurial leaders from 27 regions (I represent the CA region as one of the leaders) in the US will gather for two days to talk startups and startup communities.

How awesome is that, right? Two days filled with startup talk and what we can do to build and support more high growth startups/communities. Where do I sign?

If you’re wondering what Startup America is, Startup America is a growing national movement of entrepreneurs and resources providing startups access to the things they need to grow and produce jobs.

The movement launched at the White House in early 2011. The AOL co-founder Steve Case chairs the Partnership and the kauffman and Case Foundations are its founding partners.  American Airlines, American Express OPEN, Dell Inc., Intuit Inc., Microsoft and NYSE Euronext are just some of the corporate sponsors that have already jumped on board as well.

Yeah, it’s pretty awesome! And, you should for sure sign up. Does it cost money? Nope. It’s free. It’s a no cost program with a ton of benefits. And, if anything, being a part of this organization will help you connect with some pretty cool people who can help you grow your company.

I will share my thoughts and what I learned later in the week.

Have a great week!

 

Building a startup ecosystem that could be a game changer

I believe that if we were to connect students, young adults, and great mentors/business leaders in an intergenerational capacity (where everyone is learning, stretching, and growing) we could change the game in terms of building startup ecosystems that have the potential to change the world.

Think about this. Could we build more great entrepreneurs if we were to expose them to startups at a younger age (I’m talking middle school and high school students)? And what if they had the opportunity to team up (In a mentoring capacity) and hear, learn, and be inspired by other great entrepreneurs? Do you think they would want a job after that? Some, but not all.

We wait too long today and by the time we reach them, they are gone. We lost them to a society where they teach you to go to school, get a job, get married, buy a house, have some kids, and buy a dog…and you will live happily ever after. Parents are teaching this shit, teachers are teaching this shit, I mean, the only one not teaching this is entrepreneurs.

I say NO, start a company, take some risks, fail, have fun, build and do something that you love. Start over again. Build a great story. Break away from the norm.

We need to expose the youth at an early stage to startups and mentors so that they can become inspired to build the next great startups.

When I say the word “intergenerational”, It essentially means “adults mentoring students and students mentoring adults.” Think of all the things we are NOT learning when we don’t engage a program like this. Incubators are doing this to build great companies right now. Why are we not starting earlier?

The reality is, our world is divided by age – like it or not. In business, leadership, church, etc.

For decades, people have talked about how to bridge the gap between the younger generation and the older generation. Lets quit talking and start doing. Why do we need to continue to have fruitless conversations that ends with no productivity, and where the conversation ends up being shelved.

We can build an ecosystem like never before if we can engage an idea like this.

If building more great startups and jobs for the future is highly dependent upon intergenerational entrepreneurship, this is a conversation that can’t be shelved. I think we need to dig deeper into this idea and see what could happen if we take this more seriously than ever before.

What do you think?