From Creating an entrepreneurial culture for a city, the characteristics of an entrepreneurial culture:

Great universities: world-class researchers in key departments; enlightened and innovative intellectual-property transfer policies, solid science/engineering college; tradition of shuttling back and forth from the university to the private sector (think Stanford University); creating vibrant innovative ideas that are realized in the private sector, so that professors are connected with what actually works in the real world.

Sponsored research and development: It does not have to be university-based; it could be federal dollars.

Talented workforce: Well-educated; as a general rule, U.S. entrepreneurs have a preference for healthy choice, physical well-being and an intellectual curiosity that distinguishes them from their counterparts.

Good infrastructure: Parks, roads, events, etc., but let’s not go wild on this — businesses just want to see the basics in place; Places where professionals can get together, exchange ideas, etc., regardless where they work; fun place for younger professionals.

Viable industry sectors: Enough company density that losing a job means you can walk down the street and find another job quite easily if competent. Otherwise the talent leaves.

Startup tradition: Tradition of creating startups that are scalable, higher-growth companies with national sales footprints. These become the primary employers of tomorrow, which this city doesn’t have. We need to distinguish between lifestyle/service companies vs. scalable startups. Commercial property developers are mostly service providers, not the startups we need.

Availability of successful mentors: Successful entrepreneurs who have cashed out and want to give back with true generosity, not fee for service. (Colorado Springs has very few. To the contrary, we have too many service providers taking advantage of unsuspecting first-time entrepreneurs.)

Availability of risk capital: Ideally, a large number of entrepreneurs who have cashed out and want to reinvest. (We have some but not enough. We need more thought leaders in the public sector willing to advocate for more risk capital coming from wealthy philanthropists. But in the absence of other factors, risk capital is wasted.)

Enlightened regulatory environment/business friendly climate: A community that values communication, collaboration and transparency; inclusive vs. autocratic society; strong networking and cooperation; streamlined and transparent permitting processes.

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