Community Manager Spotlight

How To Bridge the Gap of Seclusion and Connection

Last week, we sat down with Cecilia Wessinger to talk about how entrepreneurs can effectively build their networks and why they are important. Cecilia is an entrepreneurial ecosystem builder and founder of Mass Collaboration. She currently works as the Director of Global Community for the Global Entrepreneurship Network and serves on several boards related to helping entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders.

EKOS: We'd like to address the topic of entrepreneurship support organizations and ecosystem builders. What type of organizations could be regarded as ecosystem builders, in your opinion?

Cecilia: In my opinion, an ecosystem builder is anyone in the community that supports the founder in doing the things that they need to do. It’s the people who help navigate, perhaps a formal entity; an entrepreneur support organization (ESO), like small business centers, accelerators, incubators, co-working spaces, etc. It’s also educators, (whatever level of education that is), government officials, not just in economic development, but sometimes in offices that deal with people wanting to start a business, zoning, licensing, all those people are part of the ecosystem as well.

EKOS: Why is an entrepreneurial ecosystem important for entrepreneurs?

Cecilia: The job of an entrepreneurial ecosystem builder is to support the entrepreneur in navigating their unique path quickly and efficiently, before they run out of sanity, energy and funding. Every founder has their own journey from ideation to revenue; they have to map the valley of death where people burn out. It's exhausting, it’s hard work, and entrepreneurs are very needy people, right? They can only see the road that's right in front of them. Having a collaborative, interdependent and connected network will help more founders achieve success. This helps to build thriving, robust and inclusive communities.

EKOS: You talked about entrepreneurs creating the ideation process in their rooms, in their own little backyards, or places that are mostly secluded. Any thoughts and tips on how to network and why is that important?

Cecilia: It's important to talk to people that aren't like you. Creatures, human and otherwise, have a tendency to flock. It’s a natural instinct to get together with those like them. That natural mechanism in people helps you feel affirmed and connected.

There's statistical evidence that shows, the more diversity there is, the greater opportunity for creativity and innovation. Innovation is the crossroad between two things that may already exist. So the first thing to do is seek out people who are not like you and have a conversation. Don’t simply do it to get what you need. Build relationships.

When you are seeking an introduction, I usually recommend having a purpose and an intention about the person they would like to meet. Connect with people that you know and maybe ask them, who they may know with knowledge and connections in that area. This prevents burning social credibility for your connection and for yourself. Everything moves at the speed of trust and it builds or diminishes depending on your actions.

EKOS: We talked about local ecosystems and how focused an entrepreneur is and that they can't really see that far ahead. Why would you say a global entrepreneurial ecosystem is important for an entrepreneur or in general?

Cecilia: Good ideas come from everywhere. There is usually a focus on larger countries with more evolved economies. We tend to think that those have all the answers. They have some, but we have a lot we can learn from others. There is a false assumption that infers something is true for the whole just from the fact that it is true for some parts. There is no universal truth and we are only just understanding how complex adaptive systems like global economies and entrepreneurial ecosystems operate. We live in an ever evolving and interdependent world. There is a lot of knowledge, many markets and customers, information and opportunities to explore and learn from. Why limit ourselves?

3 Takeaways

1) When applying for a job, take your past experiences and translate them into the job you are applying for (Check out the job description in close detail).

2) Utilize referrals in your organization. It is one of the best ways to get incredible hires. The entire team should be working to acquire impressive talent.

3) Make sure your interview team is aligned with the values and traits you’re looking for. It increases the chances of getting an amazing hire.

EKOS.AI is designed to help you talk to people that aren’t like you. The platform has markers that define your interests, experiences, roles, and hobbies. You can utilize these markers to find individuals with similar interests like cryptocurrency, fintech, blockchain, and more that may be in a different job function. By joining our platform, you can meet different people to expand your entrepreneurial ecosystem and overcome your next challenge.

We want to thank Cecilia for her time and for sharing her insight into why networking is vital to the success of entrepreneurs.

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