How to build an entrepreneurial community in Norwich

Great words of wisdom from Brad Feld, co-founder of TechStars on how to build an entrepreneur community. For him it’s not so much about getting the VCs (although doing so creates a positive feedback loop where capital follows success) or even requiring a great University spinning off lots of companies like Stanford in Silicon Valley – it has to be lead by the local entrepreneurs who need to be in it for the long-haul where people pay-it-forward and are passionate about helping each other rather than seeing it as a zero-sum game such as poker. We need to make it easy for the new kids on the block to get involved as SyncNorwich is doing.

This week saw another fantastic episode of This Week In Startups with Brad Feld, co-founder of Techstars and MD of the Foundry Group, a VC company based out in Boulder, CO, one of the most entrepreneurial, inspiring and beautiful places in the world and somewhere I hope to visit this year. Brad said that it’s possible – and necessary – for any city in the world to have a startup community and I liked the concept of needing both feeders (i.e. colleges) and leaders (i.e. obsessive product-focussed entrepreneurs). I also liked the part where Brad said that an adviser says “give me 1% and I’ll help you” whereas a mentor just helps, but more in a karmic way than truly selfless. He also stressed of importance of having just the right ratio of product to business people in a startup team. Brad has a series of books under Startup Revolution with the first Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City and the second Startup Life: Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship with an Entrepreneur now available for pre-order.

Good things are happening in the Norwich tech ecosystem. The first Sync Norwich conference Sync Conf is coming up on the 15th Feb and profits from the event are going to be used for Norwich’s first startup pitch night where the best team scoops the investment. I’ve been asked to help teams with their pitches prior to the event and it’s going to be great to help people to drill down on why their product exists and why it’s better than anyone else’s.


Richard Patey