Entrepreneurs all have at least one thing in common: the desire to see their businesses thrive and grow. The connections they make – to business mentors, service providers and investors, as well as to regional resources – are critical ingredients to that success. IdeaCrossing (www.ideacrossing.org), a free online resource operated by the Northeast Ohio nonprofit venture development organization JumpStart Inc., brings the components of this entrepreneurial ecosystem together in one place. See what role you can play in this vital virtual community.
It’s important for an entrepreneur to have a central place where all of their advisers can engage and collaborate. IdeaCrossing offers every registered entrepreneur a private Workspace, a virtual meeting room where s/he can invite all advisers to convene and build off one another’s insights and experience.
Entrepreneurs can invite their existing mentors to join this virtual space, or they can use IdeaCrossing’s algorithm-based matching process to find new advisers with specialized expertise.
Once connections are made, Workspace members can start discussions, exchange documents and share ideas. Advisers can also solicit additional help for these virtual collaborations and facilitate personal introductions for the entrepreneur to other potential connections, whether it’s a marketing guru who can weigh in on strategy or a lawyer willing to offer advice on incorporating the business.
What role will you play?
Perhaps you are a successful entrepreneur yourself, or maybe you have specific expertise you can offer on a pro bono basis. Whether you can devote an hour per week or provide ongoing, longer-term guidance, consider becoming a Business Mentor. Once registered, you can create a profile that allows you to be matched with entrepreneurs looking for skills just like yours. Business Mentors interested in advancing a company can also ask for an invite to an entrepreneur’s Workspace.
Maybe you’re an accredited investor who’s looking for the next big thing or just looking to increase deal flow by adding a new startup/ small business venture to your portfolio. Angel investors, venture capitalists and other financial institutions can register as Investors and create an unlimited number of profiles detailing their specific interests. IdeaCrossing will match investors to compatible startups that fit their investment criteria, while keeping their identity private until they initiate a connection.
Finally, perhaps you provide a service to the small business community. Signing up as a Service Provider allows you to create your own listing in the IdeaCrossing Service Directory promoting what you do, who you serve and how you can help. Members can search this directory by keyword, business category or ZIP code.
All users can take advantage of the IdeaCrossing Resource Center, which contains not only the Service Directory but also the latest startup news and access to best practices and startup tips. Written anything interesting lately? Submit your whitepapers and blog posts to the member-submitted articles area. Plus, use the Event Calendar to share events related to entrepreneurship and small businesses.
Sign up today to see what valuable connections you can make to grow your own business or help an entrepreneur succeed. Registering is simple and free. Visit www.IdeaCrossing.org.
6701 Carnegie Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44103