Young Money Mailbag: Break the entrepreneurial ice
blog by Caitlin Campbell McNulty • October 22, 2013 @ 11:49am
It’s been quite a while since I’ve dipped into the ‘ole Young Money mailbag, so I thought I’d answer a few reader questions this week.
I’ve received a lot of comments lately through social media (@CKCam4 on Twitter) about issues I have written blogs on before so I thought I’d re-link to some previously commented-on dilemmas along with answering new reader questions today.
I’ve received quite a few questions on ageism, which is unfortunately still an issue in most workplaces. Since we can’t all work for Google or Facebook, take a minute to re-read my thoughts on how to handle being the office “young gun.”
Another repeat question had to do with volunteering and how to know which group is right for you.
Danielle wondered how she would know how to pick and choose which organizations/charities to become involved with or what types of monthly events to attend. I actually answered a very similar reader question in August and urged readers to find a cause that they’re passionate about. Make sure you choose an organization that makes you want to come back every time, not drag your feet to.
Now for a brand-new question to round the week out:
Griffin: Caitlin, meeting successful entrepreneurs can be a challenge. The culture is pretty undeveloped in WNY at this point. What do you suggest?
Young Money: Griffin, unfortunately you’re right. But we’re getting better! There are a few opportunities that I can think of off the top of my head to meet successful entrepreneurs. You just have to get a bit creative with where you look.
First, go where the entrepreneurs go. Have a tech-leaning mind? Check out z80 Labs.
They’ve got a great space (inside The Buffalo News building!) that has created an environment that gives entrepreneurs exposure to industry leaders that are normally available only in New York City or Silicon Valley.
Co-founder Jordan Levy has worked hard to create a space that will give those with big ideas the opportunity to create a successful new company in Buffalo.
A great place to go for entrepreneurs of any industry is the University at Buffalo Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL).
Their Core program is a peer-based, mentor-driven program that focuses on enhancing the talents and operating abilities of practicing entrepreneurs.
This program not only connects you to other entrepreneurs who are probably facing the same challenges you are, allowing you to learn from one another, but it gives you access to the business owners who have taken an idea and made it successful.
The tight-knit group of CEL alumni truly looks out for each other long after they graduate from the program.
Call me old-fashioned, but I believe that chambers of commerce still serve a great purpose for entrepreneurs.
Not only do you meet fellow sole proprietors and small business owners, but you can meet CEOs, COOs and VPs of some of the largest companies in WNY too. They are a great resource and, in my experience, are almost always happy to provide advice to someone just starting a business.
While the above opportunities aren’t nearly enough to help develop and mentor an entrepreneurial economy, they’re definitely a start.
More and more organizations and local higher education institutions are starting to pay attention to the importance of developing entrepreneurs. Hopefully this leads to more opportunities for big name successes to spend time nurturing Western New York’s upstarts.
(Header photo courtesy of z80 Labs’ Facebook page, while the first internal photo is from the same place. Bottom photo is from UB CEL’s Facebook page.)