Last night, I attended “A meeting for Entrepreneurs” initiated by great entrepreneurs in Jordan to simply discuss the entrepreneurship echo system and how to contribute in enhancing it. The purpose of the meeting was to suggest solutions to existing problems, not just to talk about problems.
In general, it was great. It was positive. We discussed success and failure. We talked about the past and the future. We went through the startup and investment scene in Jordan over the past few years. In this post, I am trying to summarize the main suggestions that came out of this meeting.
There was a debate in the meeting about how structured or crowd-based such activities should be. For me, I think it should NOT be highly structured!! I mean why?!! Let whoever wants to do good for the community just do it, in his/her own way! Who builds ecosystems anyway?
Well, I think ecosystems are seeded by the community not by governments (who only react to what’s going on in the community). I think it’s a button up effort, not a top down one. In such endeavors, I really believe in un-organized community-based or even individual-based initiatives, lots of them, as opposed to few big organizations controlling or sometimes limiting such initiatives.
Everyone in the meeting emphasized on the need to share. Share knowledge, lessons learned, and expertise. They mentioned that most of the startups fail for the same reasons. So lets share these failure reasons for new comers not to repeat them. This can be done on personal blogs, or on a new simple website that can be created for this purpose.
Some suggested a new Facebook group. There are few Facebook groups for Jordanian entrepreneurs, so I was resisting this idea at first. But then they explained that it will not be for a specific event, nor it will be controlled by a specific company or association. It will be for entrepreneurs to share articles and to ask for help or advice when needed. It sounds like a really good idea.
Others suggested a closed cooperation club (a periodic meeting and/or a mailing list) by invitation only. So it starts small, then new members can be added later on after agreeing on specific rules or a kind of “code of conduct” that is built on sharing and helping as much as possible.
There can also be long video interviews with entrepreneurs who would like to share their stories, including what went right and what went wrong. These interviews can be shared privately in the club or publicly on a blog, or even on a show website similar to ThisWeekIn shows.
Attendees also suggested to have more cooperation within the community by sharing resources. Some of the attending entrepreneurs have generously offered their studios and their offices at cost for whoever needs such help.
At the end, we all agreed to suggest an AmmanTT edition about failed Jordanian startups, if their founders are willing to share their stories on stage. This would help us all know more about what went wrong in details.
There is a great book about building healthy startup communities called: “Startup Communities“. Its worth reading. I am quoting from the book description: “It explores what it takes to create an entrepreneurial community in any city, at any time. Along the way, it offers valuable insights into increasing the breadth and depth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem by multiplying connections among entrepreneurs and mentors, improving access to entrepreneurial education, and much more.”
Maybe we should all read it and discuss in that same AmmanTT session as well.
If you have any other suggestions, or if I forgot to mention any of the ones mentioned in the meeting, please add them in the comments section below.