We made history the evening of March 6th. The second installment in our Startups@CityClub series featured some fairly heavy hitters in the global and national startup community, but that wasn't the historic part.
If you haven't heard of Brad Feld, you should know who he is. The author of Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City (2012), Feld has been probably the most important leader in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Boulder, CO, not so much for his writing but more for the support he has given to other entrepreneurs.
Feld was joined by Matt Marcus of Kansas City's Startup Village, and Jim Andelman of Rincon Partners in Los Angeles, and NEO broadband evangelist Lev Gonick of One Community. This was all moderated by Michael Goldberg, professor at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management who was in the process of prepping for that business school's first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course).
The conversation was great--KC, Boulder, CLE and LA leaders comparing notes about what works (and what doesn't) when trying to knit together a vibrant and supportive entrepreneurial environment in a city or region that doesn't have the infrastructure of a Palo Alto or a New York City. But as I said, that wasn't the best part, or the historic part. What made really deepened the experience was the remote participation of two of the panelists and audience members around the world.
At about 29 minutes in, we got a question from an audience member in Greece, Alexis (he asked about the role of universities in supporting startup communities). The question from Jovani in Rwanda came in around 50 minutes in via text.
From the standpoint of this place, we're excited to grow our reach through our community and beyond. But beyond that, we're excited to do our part to help put Greater Cleveland in conversation with the rest of the world.