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Help a MassChallenge startup: MassChallenge

Posted by Chad O'Connor  January 23, 2013 11:00 AM

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[Editor's Note: In case you missed Global Business Hub Contributor Ellen Keiley's segment on RadioBDC earlier this week, you can listen to it here.]

The “Help a MassChallenge” Biz Hub series aims to connect individual startups with whatever they need to continue to grow. With MassChallenge 2013 applications opening in February, this week we’ll take a broader scope, asking why and how we should help entrepreneurs now:

Why help startups now?
Entrepreneurs are our value creators and problem solvers - and Biz Hub readers know it! It is with these nimble, high-potential, high-growth companies that we see world’s most innovative technologies and newest solutions. It’s startups that are teaching kids math with intuitive mobile apps, tracking headaches with phones and pulling water out of thin air. They’re connecting military professionals, rescuing nutritious food, and creating a new standard for bond valuation. They find new ways to diagnose cancer, make branded video entertaining and help us locate events on the fly. Take any problem in the world, and entrepreneurs are working tirelessly until that industry is revolutionized.

Startups are also creating jobs – virtually all of the jobs in the U.S. The Kauffman Foundation conducted a study and concluded: “Net job growth occurs in the U.S. economy only through startup firms.” Since 1977, existing firms lose 1 million net jobs per year, while startups in their first year added an average of 3 million jobs in aggregate.

Meanwhile, the Kauffman Foundation also found that entrepreneurial activity dropped off slightly in recent years. As we climb out of this recession, we need new value and new jobs more than anything. Yet, it is still difficult for early-stage entrepreneurs to find the support they need to launch a new business – even here in Boston, where there are so many programs and people dedicated to helping!

How can we help startups now?
Over the past few months, several MassChallenge entrepreneurs have used these Biz Hub blogs to tell us what they do and how we can help in one small way or another. Much as innovation can come from unexpected places, support for entrepreneurs can come from anyone – not just venture capitalists.

Supporting an entrepreneur can also be much more than cutting a check. More often than not, helping startups means providing time, advice and introductions that can help them improve their product or gain faster access to customers, expertise or funding. This is true for the requests we’ve seen in this series too – most seek feedback and connections more than anything else.

What can you offer to help an entrepreneur? Can you open up your services, expertise and networks to help make those connections? Can you be a customer, or at least provide some feedback as a potential customer? Big corporations, can you sponsor startup showcases, as Fidelity Investments or Verizon have done for startups in Boston? Can you share your marketing resources or office space? American Airlines features a startup in every issue of American Way and PayPal is turning its office into an incubator.

Or better yet - do you have a big idea that could change the world? Now is your time.

We all benefit when we foster an ecosystem that promotes and supports entrepreneurs. We all get more value when we make it easy to create value. This should be one of our biggest priorities as a society, but many entrepreneurs continue to toil in their basements and garages without access to the resources and advice they need to become successful.

How can our readers help MassChallenge?
The Global Biz Hub community has been an amazing resource to MassChallenge and its startups in the past. Here’s how you can help MassChallenge for 2013:

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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