Building an entrepreneurial community requires an information architecture that lends itself to bridging connections between experienced and first-time entrepreneurs. This is important because it’s a real challenge for aspiring and first-time entrepreneurs to get connected to the ecosystem.
Most of the time people just don’t know where to begin and so their exploration into the world of entrepreneurship is delayed. To avoid this from happening, one of the most useful things you could do for aspiring entrepreneurs is provide them with a set of information that will enable them to connect with other nearby entrepreneurs.
This information comes in the form of lists of local entrepreneurs, their companies, the events they attend, and things of that nature. Tools like Meetup and AngelList seem to already be taking care of some aspects of this curation process. Meetup is a great way to start a group to find other people with similar interests and maintain a calendar of events. AngelList is a great source of information for finding other entrepreneurs and their companies. One problem, though, is the information needed by the entrepreneur is spread out and not available in one location.
Bringing it all together in one location can have a remarkable impact on how community is perceived. That is the unique value created by NextPlex, a community building platform founded by Lail Brown and Terran Birrell. Knowing both of these guys personally, they are dedicated to helping smaller cities grow entrepreneurial communities by providing a set of online tools for monitoring what is going on locally.