Last week, I convened the Shenandoah Valley entrepreneurial ecosystem for our quarterly work session. Even though I started working on this months ago, it still feels like an ambitious endeavor: It's not like you can just throw a bunch of entrepreneurial supporters together in a room and say: let's create something that is bigger and greater than what anyone of us could do on their own. Let's go!
I mean, maybe YOU can... but I'm not there yet.
I'm still in the process of building my social capital in these circles and I'm honestly amazed (and incredibly grateful!) that 16 economic developers, SBDC advisors, Chamber and Main Street representatives, a lawyer, a small business banker and a co-working space owner showed up to workshop for hour hours (I highly recommend hosting these types of convening at a vineyard!).
My biggest fears for these convenings are twofold:
- What if not many people show up and we've waster the time of the people who DID show up?
- What if someone (or several people!) stand up, cross their arms in resignation and say, "I'm just not going to do that. I think it's a stupid idea."
That is EXACTLY what happened to Margo Fliss - a seasoned Strategic Doing facilitator and Alaska-based ecosystem builder who I recently had on the show.
Three time zones east, Todd Nuckols brought his own scary story (happy belated Halloween!?): What if you're trying to do something bold and meaningful for entrepreneurs in your community and one of your allies straight up says, "Don't do it. We're against this project and think you should drop it."
You guessed it friends, it got juicy and a little tense on the show these last two weeks!
But both Margo and Todd also offered tangible advice on how to turn soreheads and nay-sayers into your most avid supporters!
I hope you enjoy these two conversations and the resources I have for you this month:
What if your convening goes sideways?
... and how do you move forward when naysayers bring everything to a standstill?
How do you handle a NO from an ally?
... and how can we move forward without the partners we had originally relied on?
I come across a lot of resources that I think every ecosystem builder should get their hands on. While I share them far and wide on many channels (mostly LinkedIn & Instagram), I love curating a list of the best insights, opportunities and resources for you:
- In episode 5 of season 4, Margo Fliss recommends you check out Cal Newport ("Commencing shut-down!" and The Medici Effect: What Elephants and Epidemics can teach us about Innovation for your holiday reading list.
- Our friend Jeff Bennett has been keeping busy! He just updated his article on Mapping your Ecosystem (how to get started) and highlighted Ecosystems for Change as a resource for ecosystem builders. Thanks Jeff!
- If - like me - you missed all ecosystem builders convenings this fall, fear not! Social Venturer Cecilia Wessinger wrote a recap! She also just published a piece on Phemonology (Phenomenology is the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view.) and you can read it here.
- Social Venturer Charlton Cunningham just published his Tulsa startup guide. If you've always wondered what a startup guide can look like and/or you're headed to Tulsa anytime soon (to hang out with Charlton & Cecilia) - check it out!
Vacancies - looking for a job or know someone who does?
- Our friends at Forward Cities are hiring a Program Director.
- Builders + Backers Venture Studio is seeking a full-time Builder-In-Residence to work alongside a variety of Builders working through our 90-day Idea Accelerator Program.
- Utrecht University has a vacancy for 1 full-time PhD in Social Entrepreneurship.
- Yunus Social Business is hiring a part-time communications coordinator for their Berlin office and an investment associate for their fund in Colombia.
- New Story is looking for an Impact Investment Senior Manager in Mexico City.
- Our friends at Rural Innovation Strategies Inc. are looking to bring a Placemaking Fellow on board in Baltimore, Maryland (though the role is remote).
I'll be back in your inbox in two weeks to introduce you to two more ecosystem builders who are good at building social capital, to share my favorite resources, and to remind you that what you do matters!