Bob Hinrichs reflects on keys to a great entrepreneurial ecosystem
Last week we introduced you to Bob Hinrichs, the technology developer that moved to back to Lincoln last summer after spending years in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to what we covered in the first story on Hinrichs, we also visited with him about the keys to creating a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem. Here
Bob Hinrichs’ dream is to have a venture or startup in Lincoln and be able to help local entrepreneurs with their businesses. Photo by Kate Ellingson.
Last week we introduced you to Bob Hinrichs, the technology developer that moved to back to Lincoln last summer after spending years in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to what we covered in the first story on Hinrichs, we also visited with him about the keys to creating a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem. Here are Hinrichs’ essential elements for a successful ecosystem:
- Investors of time, money and expertise willing to support the “cause” of innovation, in general or particular applications
- AND channels to facilitate these resources in finding their application of best value
- A visible “startup culture” within the community that plays a role in defining the culture. Community awareness that can spread beyond the community. This culture emerges organically, but there are ways to nurture it and there needs to be some amount of intentionality driving it.
- The region needs a “brand” of its own, specific, unique images and well-known associations with its character that identify it in a positive way, that are actively promulgated. The environment needs to be one that supports creativity.
- There needs to be fluidity and turbulence of ideas and people — events and locations where people involved in “startup culture,” however that is defined, can meet, ideas can mix and creativity can occur.
- Localized centers, hubs, that are geographical centerpieces where major and minor “players” can locate and mix
- Entities, preferably companies, that endorse innovation as their primary product, and facilitate all of the above
- Millennials in the workforce
We also asked Hinrichs what he would like to see in the local ecosystem. His answer:
- Well … more of the above! I suppose I tend to think in terms of factors I’ve observed that contribute to the big coastal ecosystems that I would like to see more of here.
- We need to give and use NAMES for our unique places, ideas and subcultures, particularly those pertaining to the “creative class.”
- We need to put much more intention into our brand and image. Not: football, cows or corn. We already have them, and they don’t really help us in this area.
- We need more journalists and bloggers writing regularly about the incredible stuff happening here. I think a special regular section of the LJS (Lincoln Journal Star) or local TV news coverage would help. This is the glue that pulls information out and pushes it into circulation and knowledge that people can act on. There is much interesting stuff happening without enough publicity.
- We need to have regular events catering to technology people, marketing people, innovators, artists —ideally events that all within these groups might take an interest, because these groups need to intermingle. Think: Churchill Club meetings, Web 2.0 conference, etc.
For more on Hinrichs and his experiences, see our previous article, “Hinrichs returns from The Valley to Lincoln, ‘where it’s going to happen’ ” or check the video below, in which Hinrichs discusses advantages of being located in the Silicon Prairie.
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