You are currently viewing Why Collaboration is Key to Entrepreneurship

Why Collaboration is Key to Entrepreneurship

by Tasha Bibb

Tasha Bibb - Director of Entrepreneurial Development
Tasha Bibb – Director of Entrepreneurial Development

Over the past 15 years, I’ve worked with nearly 1,500 startups. I’ve studied countless others. In my research, both primary and secondary, I’ve realized that one of the main contributors to entrepreneurial success is the founders’ ability to network and their willingness to collaborate.

You’ve heard the saying, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” When I think about the most successful startups, they are the companies that build an impressive management team, recruit a stellar board of advisors and mentors, land strategic partners, and work hard to stay connected. They’re at all the pitch competitions, networking events, meetups, and showcases. The best founders actively seek resources, share ideas, and make it their business to get familiar with anyone who could potentially add value to their venture.

Another old adage says it takes a village to raise a child, which is a nod to the collective social responsibility a community has to ensure that children receive proper care and instruction. A colleague poked fun at me when I stood at a Delta Regional Authority conference and uttered the not-so cleverly worded proclamation, “It takes a village to build a company!” Despite the slightly strained analogy, I believe the saying applies. A dynamic startup ecosystem and an engaged entrepreneurial community will help startups succeed.

As startups and small businesses are the lifeblood of an economy, there is also a collective social responsibility of public, private, and individual entities to contribute to their growth. I am always elated when a “cashed out” entrepreneur or a seasoned service provider reaches out to make themselves available as mentors to startups. And “community” doesn’t end with individuals—institutions matter, too. Over the past 15 years, I’ve seen impressive entrepreneurial resources developed on university campuses, in small non-profit organizations, and at large corporations.

In an environment where entrepreneurs (both mature and budding), mentors, service providers, and investors all lock arms, the pressure to succeed and fear of the unknown are both softened. The collective knowledge and resourcefulness of the community—the people who have already “been there”—can go a long way to helping those early-stage founders weather the inevitable storms, pivot where necessary, and succeed.

The bridge from inspiration to implementation is often built with knowledge and ideas from a trusted community that includes a solid management team, advisors, mentors, and fellow entrepreneurs. That’s why I encourage everyone in the ecosystem—entrepreneurs, mentors, service providers and institutions—to remember how important the “village” is, and take advantage of every opportunity to collaborate that comes along.