Written by: John Allen, CEO, Huntsville Committee of 100
Entrepreneurs are often referred to as “the engines of innovation, economic growth, and overall prosperity” for an area. And as our region grows and evolves, so does the need for support for the entrepreneurial ecosystem. OK sure, but what does that really mean?
An entrepreneur starts with “I have an idea” or “What if it was like this” and what happens next is revolutionary. Their can-do spirit strikes that spark of innovation and creativity to drive their ideas forward. And these innovators and creators are not limited to ideas, apps, technology, and rockets. Think about that skilled trade person that says one day, “I can do that better”, and takes the risk to start a business. This mindset creates a creative and vibrant community that we all benefit from; with those ideas, concepts, and skillsets all impacting the community and region. Is it risky? Yes. Is it challenging? For sure. Is it painful? Can be. Do you sacrifice? Without a doubt. Are there rewards? Absolutely. But it all starts with that belief and strength in your idea and vision.
I mean, let’s get real. What if when President Kennedy told Wernher Von Braun we were headed to the moon and back in a decade, Von Braun’s response was, “Ehh?”. Not a chance. He knew the community had the innovators and knowledge to make that dream happen. My guess is his answer was, “We got this”. Well, we are still a community that responds to opportunities with “We got this”. That is why we were able to pencil whip the Saturn V to the moon and back.
So, what about this ecosystem we keep hearing about? The entrepreneurial ecosystem is the fuel to the fire of an idea that provides the resources to make the dream of an entrepreneur reality. It’s the mentors, visionaries, financial resources, and fabric that is woven together and accessible to those with a dream. Providing access to resources, removing barriers, and allowing dreams to flourish will continue to propel our city and region to take on the next bold request with the same “We got this”.
As you know, workforce is on the top of everyone’s minds as our region grows and entrepreneurship is a great way to develop and recruit talent to our area. Besides impacting workforce, entrepreneurs have a tendency to break away from traditional perspectives and tackle the social challenges, like poverty, with new approaches. Because of the nature of who they are, entrepreneurs use creativity and innovation to solve problems in our world big and small. Which may not seem like a big deal until your trying to do something without them!
North Alabama is already working tirelessly on this topic. Right now, countless local organizations are working with startups in every phase of their business cycle to grow more jobs that bring talent and keep talent in North Alabama. This week Innovate Huntsville has been celebrating entrepreneur’s region wide through co-working nights, pitch competitions, and awards celebrations. We salute them all.
The Huntsville Committee of 100 supports our entrepreneurial players and changemakers as we continue to nurture entrepreneurship in our region. Our communities interesting cross section of entrepreneurs, workforce, and economic development provide important perspectives for policy makers, educational institutions, business owners, change agents and non-profits. Nurturing entrepreneurship can only result in a positive impact for the future of our economy and society.
The Huntsville Committee of 100 is a business organization of 255 CEOs and professionals – including 50 young professionals — committed to long-term strategies that support economic development, high-quality public education, and cooperative local government.