Dictionary.com defines community as a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.
I’m particularly excited to write this post because the group I’m interested in fostering, those focused on developing Brooklyn Startups, took what I think are some great steps on path toward community.
Charlie O’Donnell of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures sponsored a gathering of entrepreneurs, community leaders, city government folks, techies, creatives and a host of other people for a discussion entitled Making Brooklyn: A Community Roundtable on Brooklyn as an Innovation Center. The number of people in attendance spoke volumes about the passion of those involved.
To me the key steps were 1) being able to look around the room and see who makes up the community and 2) being able to have a valuable exchange about the goals and the path forward.
What I heard were ideas about protecting the creative class, building cool technology, taking pride in Brooklyn as a brand and defining the inputs for success. Anyone making notes would surely have realized that the discussion for building the Brooklyn into an innovation center was advanced.
What I also heard was a willingness to continue to foster community. That means more meetups, more communication, more help from community leaders in making certain Brooklyn neighborhoods startup friendly. Issues from transportation and real estate to good infrastructure and good takeout where on the table.
How could one not come away from this distinct confirmation of common culture with a sense of excitement and optimism.
From my perspective, the inputs required for building an innovation center that fosters startups are the following:
- Intellectual Capital – a source of creativity, a source of academia, a source of ideas
- Technological input – access to engineers, data scientists, business development skills
- Financial Capital – Angels and Venture Capitalists willing to put money to work on good ideas (also continuous flow of funds into the the community on infrastructure)
- A base of industries/customers that can provide revenue and mentoring to startups
- An ecosystem of successful companies to support new entrants and be a big brother to newcomers.
There is a lot that can be done to make the lives of entrepreneurs easier. And to the extent that the community continues to do these types of things it will enable the competitive advantages that Brooklyn already has to really shine.
I can’t wait until the next discussion. Thank you Charlie!