Beyond the Pitch

National Startup Day Tells Quite the Story About Columbus

Startup Storytellers

Even though National Startup Day is only two years old, it already has developed a strong foothold in Central Ohio.

On August 5, Startup Storytellers brought together a host of entrepreneurs, government officials, and startup advocates to discuss ways they all could benefit the local innovation economy.

While the event did highlight ways for the local government to more actively support entrepreneurship, perhaps the biggest takeaway was how much Central Ohio already does to encourage innovation—and how quickly the momentum is building.

Just a few weeks ago Columbus became the nation’s first metropolitan city—and the second city overall—to hire a Small Business Concierge as a liaison between entrepreneurs and local city officials. Getting government involved with small business might seem like a paradox since, as Dublin Representative Mike Duffey noted, it often “creates fear in people’s minds that they can’t do what they want.”

While that may prove true in other cities, the fact that so many different companies, industries, and professionals showed up to Startup Storytellers proves that, in Central Ohio, everyone is united in supporting startup success.

In the past few months, we’ve seen nods to that support throughout the larger community—with the opening of the Columbus Idea Foundry, the debut of TechColumbus’ Concept Academy and preparations for WearGood, Columbus’ first local tech hackathon. The wealth of local resources available to aspiring entrepreneurs, both within and without the tech space, is growing by the day.

Ryan Schick, Columbus’ Small Business Concierge, thinks that this perspective is unique to Columbus—and that it will be the key to our success as an entrepreneurial hub. According to him, “This is a Midwest town with an East Coast feel, and that’s what will lead this city forward.”

Columbus increasingly proves that it has the resources and the passion to power local innovation. Now, the key is to provide outlets for more people to access those channels. Both Duffy and Schick commented on the need for us “not only to teach entrepreneurship, but to cultivate entrepreneurship” in the community, something which events like Startup Storytellers and Startup Grind are already helping to do.

A few years ago, you never would have heard about anything like this coming out of Columbus. I hear this a lot from my parents, who have lived in Columbus for decades and yet only recently learned about the startup community.

That’s because, until recently, you never heard about startups. There was no gathering place for entrepreneurs, let alone any type of support infrastructure. Now that we have both, events like Startup Storytellers are teeming with entrepreneurs from all walks of life, even college-aged people like me.

Seeing how far the Columbus startup scene has come makes me wonder where it will be in the next few years. If you’re curious, too, you should come along for the ride.

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