I wore jeans and a shirt to work on a Wednesday. Usually I’m a shirt and tie kind of guy.
It’s not a big deal, but I was interested to hear Tom Chapman speak in Cedar Rapids on the “humanization of entrepreneurship” and wearing a shirt and tie just seemed wrong . I don’t know many entrepreneurial minds that wear ties. That’s for the VCs.
Chapman is the director of entrepreneurship and innovation for the Omaha Chamber of Commerce. He was in Cedar Rapids as part of a two-day event organized by Amanda Styron and Andy Stoll, most recently the co-founders of Seed Here.
During his talk, he stressed three traits a community can utilize to create a vibrant entrepreneurial landscape: Friendship, humility and being less humble.
- Friendship – Create a vast network of connected people so when opportunities arise there is a trusted relationship already established.
- Humility – Be part of many things and take and give credit where it’s most due.
- Be less humble – Speak up. People in the Midwest have trouble doing that when good things happen.
His main point, however, was highlighting the importance of people, the individual, in making an entrepreneurial landscape more vibrant.
“I hear it a lot. Innovation is important. Be urgent. Commit to doing it,” he said. Those are just words people speak. “An individual can make a huge difference. Find leaders that are not typical. Let people lead, so you don’t kill the authenticity.”
There are a group of individuals, including myself, organizing an unconference event called BarcampICR. Like Seed Here, a goal is to get creatives and entrepreneurs to share ideas and create a dialogue on current projects that are happening between the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City corridor. It’s a start.
“Be a champions for what you can do for your community and the realness of what it means,” Chapman said.
Some other key points from his talk:
- Grown entrepreneurial teams by getting them talking to one another regularly. Don’t make assumptions about what the current ecosystem looks like.
- Wealth is created organically. In the ecosystem, job creation and investments do their thing, but wealth creation is not a byproduct. It’s created by entrepreneurs.
- Champion what individuals and teams can do for a community.
- Raise the level of the dialogue about entrepreneurs: The people, the hardships, the successes, the daily grind of making things work.
Follow the #boomcow hashtag for more on Chapman’s talk.