Beyond the Pitch

Startup Fuel: Jelly and Buffalo Wild Wings

 At TechColumbus, we throw around the phrase “Innovation Economy” a lot.

The thing is, I’m still fairly new to this whole startup world, so even while working to support the Innovation Economy, I’ve been a little fuzzy on what it actually means—even though I see it in action at TechColumbus every day.

So, when my colleague Rick Coplin invited a few of us to visit him at the Dublin Entrepreneurial Center, I was hopeful that I’d get a fuller perspective of what this term “Innovation Economy” really means.

Turns out, it all starts with buffalo wings.

Each month, the DEC hosts a handful of events for the local entrepreneurial community. They’ve done this since their opening in 2009, and they’ve had Buffalo Wild Wings cater these events all the while.

After so many years of working together, Buffalo Wild Wings donates the food in return for the DEC putting in a good word with the community, a partnership that benefits both parties tremendously.

It’s a relationship that isn’t based on money (well, maybe a little), but more than anything it’s about exchanging value to create a better community for everyone.

That mentality permeates the day-to-day at the DEC, from the events and community partnerships to the way the staff chooses tenants.

As Rick told us, “When someone wants to move their company here, I only ask them one question: ‘How well do you play with others?’”

Really, when it comes down to it, the whole “playing well with others” mentality is the capstone of the Innovation Economy.  Now that I’ve realized this, I finally feel like I have a better sense of what the Innovation Economy means.

It means bimonthly “Jelly Talks” to help local entrepreneurs kick their businesses into high gear.

It means providing 24/7 access to office space, breakout space, and enterprise necessities.

It means managing and protecting in-house data through the Metro Data Center.

And, yes, it means free buffalo wings.

TechColumbus and the DEC work together much in the same way that the DEC and Buffalo Wild Wings work together. We further promote that collaborative approach through services like the First Connect Network (FCN) and the Expert Network (EN), an alliance of local industry leaders who have donated over $600,000 in free or discounted pro bono services to date.

And we’re growing that feeling of cooperation through our newest addition to the TechColumbus lobby: a suggestions chalkboard for entrepreneurs to list ways that we—and the region—can better support them as they grow their companies.

So the next time you’re at TechColumbus, the DEC, or Buffalo Wild Wings, remember that when it comes to the Innovation Economy, we’re all playing together.

Learn more about how TechColumbus can help you startup your company.

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