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Introducing The Startup Collaborative

Imagine a world where we—the Silicon Prairie—can beat the Valley and Alley at the rate of conversion from concept startup to scaling startup. We can see that, clearly in fact. So clearly, that it is the driving vision behind The Startup Collaborative, powered by Greater Omaha Chamber.

The Vision: Radically improve the odds of startup success

Last fall we inked paperwork solidifying a three-way merge of ecosystem leaders: the Greater Omaha Chamber’s entrepreneurship and innovation division, Omaha Startup Collaborative and Straight Shot. It was a bold move. Not just for our region, but for the industry of accelerators and incubators at large.

Frankly, we needed to get bold. What we were doing was working, but not at the rate we needed it to do so. We had to (and continue to have to) be radical in our approach to improving the odds of startup success.

How do we start this revolution?

  • Define common, shared language in this jargon filled space
  • Encourage sustainable and scalable business progression with real outcomes
  • Rally the community behind a focused vision with quantifiable goals

Shared common language

In startup land, early stage means vastly different things to all types of stakeholders. The vagueness is causing confusion among investors, talent, the corporate community and even ourselves!

We are advocating for shared language. Let’s be transparent about our growth—celebratory even! That all starts with clear, outcome-focused nomenclature about our stage of business.

Through our lens, we see three phases within “early stage.” Those include Discovery, Validation and Scale.

Scalable, sustainable growth

We evaluated our legacy 90-day accelerator and traditional incubator models. We loved the tribes those programs created, the sense of urgency and the inspiration. What we didn’t love: arbitrary dates, unwarranted signals of growth and limitless distractions.

The result? An entirely new approach to on-demand acceleration.

Startup Fellows within TSC work alongside their peers to earn sequential, quantifiable, proven traction. With growth, we offer incentives including access to venture funding, dedicated interns, inclusion on investor roadshows and tribal workspace within HQ.

These fellowship work sessions can’t be easily checked off or taken out of order. Rather, they must be completed sequentially—with outcomes that grow business—by rolling up one’s sleeves, focusing and getting to work.

Even better is that the fellowship is led by many of our ecosystem’s best domain experts.

Rallying the community

If our goal is to radically improve the odds of startup success,then we need to create an entire community supportive and embracing of starting up. Everyone wins if our talent pool thinks more entrepreneurially, if we’re more inclined to seek quantifiable growth, if we’re more brazen in our ventures.

Purposeful events, serendipitous connections, a myriad of engaging and topical entrepreneurship meetups. Community building is all about getting people off the sidelines and into the game.

We’re backing the relentless community leaders behind hundreds of startup community events annually. These folks are building the top-of-the-funnel for our startup community through events like 1 Million Cups, Startup Week, JumpStart Challenges, niche meetups and more.

What’s next?

All of us need to go all-in on this vision to radically improve the odds of success. The first step? Join The Startup Collaborative to celebrate the launch of this ecosystem’s next era.

Erica Wassinger and Nathan Preheim are the co-founders of The Startup Collaborative.

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