The Ecosystem - It Takes A Village

The Ecosystem - It Takes A Village

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

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As I have been involved in the Spokane entrepreneurial ecosystem for the past several years, it is very clear that many individuals and organizations have worked tirelessly in their respective ways to encourage and support entrepreneurship. Our region has established tremendous momentum, and this posting is intended to take a moment to celebrate our success and all that we are doing as a community to support entrepreneurship and small business.

I would like to start with Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI). As many of you are aware, GSI added entrepreneurship and business formation to their economic development strategy 18 months ago. They hired a program manager and created Startup Spokane as the physical and online place for entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses to access support resources. Today, GSI has a program manager and a community manager, who are taking Startup Spokane to an entirely new level. They are providing one-on-one entrepreneur assistance, and are formalizing Mentor Connect, a network of individuals who will make themselves available to mentor entrepreneurs and small businesses for up to six months. Additionally, they have activated Professional Connect, a network of service providers and business professionals who are interested in providing entrepreneurs and businesses with their respective subject matter expertise. Startup Spokane Central has created a strong community for coworking, learning, sharing and meeting. And a myriad of events and workshops are regularly delivered by GSI and other 3rd party organizations at Central. Inland Northwest Technologists (INT), led by Zach Shallbetter and Elliot Stoll, has become the connector of our technology community. From leading various meetup groups, to hosting events like "Code in the Dark", INT is on a mission to retain computer science and engineering students in our region as they complete their educational journeys. Planning is underway for the upcoming Startup Weekend Spokane this fall. The organizing committee, led by Andy Brunsch and Michael Williams, is committed to making the 9th event, held November 11-13th at Gonzaga University Jepson Center, the biggest and best ever. With over 150 participants, there is no event that generates this number of fresh ideas over a 54-hour weekend event. Ignite Northwest has completed two cohorts of their accelerator program, graduating nearly 30 high growth startups. They are accepting applications for their upcoming fall accelerator class. Our region is gearing up to showcase twelve high growth startup companies from around the area. The Triangle Venture Expo is planned for Thursday, September 15th and will feature presentations from etailz, 2nd Watch, Stay Alfred, Apana, Hyper Sciences, Risk Lens, Demand Energy Networks, Rohini, Kochava, Paw Print Genetics, Next-IT, Imprezzio, and H-Source. These companies, all of whom started in our region, represent nearly 750 jobs and are continuing to grow. And while all of this great work and more continues in our region, let's take a moment to celebrate our remarkable progress!!!