Accelerators, incubators, technology parks, consortiums, start-up ecosystems……..buzz words that those of us that work in technology development and talk about innovation for a living are used to saying as part of our entrepreneurial vernacular. All of these elements are an important part of developing innovation. But these elements must be built in an environment that supports them or they are futile. Regions that are successful at building innovation economies know that, most importantly, there must be community support for technology development and investment. There must be a culture in place to motivate a community to drive innovation. Building new innovation communities and entrepreneurial cultures is not easy. It requires commitment, investment, talent, knowledge, time and space. It also requires critical efforts to bring a group of different minds coming together to share ideas, obstacles, and assets in the spirit of collaboration. Innovation experts know that entrepreneurs assisting entrepreneurs in informal social networks is the “secret sauce” of what helps a region become a thriving entrepreneurial hub. According to a report by Compass, entrepreneurs’ connections with their peers are shown to be as important to start-up growth in some cities as the role of institutions.
The aphorism that "a rising tide lifts all boats" illustrates this idea that a connected community and improved culture will benefit every community member. The ideal that we all more likely to succeed together. This is especially true when building innovative technology companies. A successful innovation community must collaborate to build everything from education to research to business creation, start-up incubation, marketing, communication and sales.
Our guest on this episode knows all about entrepreneurs helping entrepreneurs. Kit Mueller is known as a Serial Tummler or a person who connects people and makes things happen. And that’s what Kit has been doing in Pittsburgh’s tech sector for years. Kit describes himself as an “Entrepreneurial Community Builder with a proven history of entrepreneurial success in the software and creative industries. Kit is an exuberant entrepreneur who advises startups, invests in them and organizes events to get entrepreneurs in the same room talking about what’s worked, what’s failed, and what’s ripe with potential. He built his first technology startup at just 21 years old and has been busy ever since creating ventures like Startup Boost Pittsburgh, StartUp Weekend, Built in Pittsburgh, Fygment Productions, Speak Freely, ShiftPgh, and RustBuilt.