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The power of startups networking with startups

The power of startups networking with startups

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It’s 15 minutes after our 15 hours of class is over for the week, and no one is leaving. Several of us are deep in conversation about naming our companies.

The ideas bounce around with every member of the group contributing valuable feedback. I finally have to go to meet a commitment. I’m bummed the conversation is over. The rest of my classmates continue talking as I slip out, and I throw in last-minute input as I throw my bag over my shoulder.

This kind of thing, I was told by founders Liza Millet and Sandy Hessler, is one of the things that would make the Start-Up Institute valuable to me.

They were right.

While it didn’t emerge immediately, I felt the potential at the welcome lunch Sandy hosted, when I said it felt like a club for driven people. That was right after I’d crazily quit my job to pursue this dream with five kids and a mortgage to nurture.

Now, halfway through the class at Central Wyoming College in Jackson, things are really clicking with everybody. The more comfortable we feel with each other, the more we support one another. ”

I’ve been able to:

  • Help others with company names.
    • Be helped with mine.
  • Help smooth elevator pitches for other classmates.
    • Be helped with mine.
  • Sharpen others’ business plans.
    • Get help from others to sharpen mine.
  • Give advice on my areas of expertise.
    • Get advice from others on their areas of expertise.
    • Bounce my ideas off willing listeners so they will shape up.
  • Listen to others’ ideas to help them take shape.

Not only is it helpful to get the help from classmates, it’s also been fun to see how I can be of use to those at a similar stage.

Too often careers tend to be insular when they could be interconnected.

Often, people want to help others but don’t know how to go about doing so.

This class is helping take down fences around those things so we can all be lifted up together.

Having ready access to people in the same stage of life and business is really becoming a valuable resource. Especially since none of us are necessarily rookies.

We’re just embarking on new adventures.


This article is the 5th in a series to be published about the Start-Up Institute the way Jackson native Mark Wilcox experiences it in April through June of 2016.