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Tough Times Call for New Entrepreneurship Efforts

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Conventional wisdom says now is a great time to start a business, but the economic reality makes such a prospect a daunting one. Funding — be it in the form of credit-card debt, personal loans or venture capital — is scarce, and leaving any sort of steady job, especially one with benefits, is risky. But that won’t stop a true entrepreneur from going out there and creating something, which is why Alexander Muse of the Texas Startup Blog and David Cohen, a founder of TechStars, have launched SpringStage.

SpringStage is a program aimed at getting entrepreneurs connected through local blogs, happy hours, bar camps and other efforts designed to mimic the atmosphere for startups found in Silicon Valley. Someone interested in bringing the program to his or her city would apply to be a SpringStage “catalyst,” which includes access to IT and other SpringStage resources, as well as a monthly stipend to host events. Once a month, catalysts attend a conference call to talk about progress.

The program was inspired by TechStars and other efforts to get entrepreneurs together and in front of capital sources. The threat of an competing angel network in Dallas forced two of the area’s four angel groups to lower their pitch fees from $2,000 per pitch to something more reasonable, according to Muse. He also says Austin Ventures regularly sends a team member to the happy hour he puts on for Dallas entrepreneurs.

At their best, such efforts will work much the way TechStars does, galvanizing an existing community while drawing the attention of the technology world — and venture capital. But not every area has the existing talent of Boulder, Colo., and Muse acknowledges that some catalysts will see less success — already there’s a big difference among the city blogs on the SpringStage web site. Regardless, I think giving entrepreneurs a local outlet is always a good thing.

10 Responses to “Tough Times Call for New Entrepreneurship Efforts”

  1. This is what we’ve been doing in south florida with RefreshMiami and our other local groups. Very interested to see where springstage goes, would have loved to have heard from them with their florida effort though (seeing as we are the largest community in florida)…

  2. @alex thank you for the clarification. Since the post talk about VCs and Angels it was not clear. Congrats on this effort, clearly going in the right direction as entrepreneurs are the ones who can get us out of the mess…

  3. It is allways good to see efforts to help entrepreneurs. I would hope that Springstage goes beyond Angels or trying to lure VCs in areas where they are not, because unfortunately Angels and VCs are not the best options for entrepreneurs, and spending time trying to talk to them (or even worse spending $2000 to talk in front of people who are supposed to have spare money to invest) is clearly not a good strategy.
    This is why I have started Entrepreneur Commons (, to provide mentorship, but also funding through another model that the VC or Angel models.
    Check it out…

  4. Great article…..

    Want a great place to live, much lower cost of living, very smart people, and real Mexican food?

    Come to San Antonio to launch your next startup or expand your existing one.

    OK…. I am sort of biased, but no kidding folks, we’ve got the whole enchilada- with churches, schools, and fast broadband. You can park at nearby Rackspace and offload everything into the cloud. And when you’re in San Antonio, it’s just like living…. in the clouds.