We are getting ready for our first ever Startup Paradise Demo Day – a joint event showcasing the companies of Blue Startups and Energy Excelerator. We are excited to share these promising companies to the investor community. My dream is that this event eventually becomes the anchor for much bigger regional gathering – similar to SWSX, Big Omaha, Disrupt, etc.. The idea behind Startup Paradise is that it becomes about more than Blue Startups, Energy Excelerator, Kinetiq Labs, Founder’s Institute, Box Jelly or any of the many individuals and entities working to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Hawaii. That we own Startup Paradise collectively, as a community, and that ownership and excitement transmits across our shores and truly has global reach.
We live on an island in the middle of the Pacific – this has its beauty and it has its challenges. I was recently on a call with Brad Feld (Foundry Group Partner and author of Building Startup Communities) and I asked him – how do we raise the level of awareness about what we are doing here in Hawaii to a national and international level? He said we must be relentless connectors and marketers of our brand. We must reach out to the influencers in our field – Brad Feld, David Cohen, Dave McClure, Steve Case, etc. support their work and get them in turn to support ours. We are working on this, but we have a long ways to go, and we need everyone’s help. Because we are so small and geographically isolated – getting on the radar is challenging – but not impossible. Omaha did it! As Brad Feld said he would much rather have an excuse to come to Hawaii than Nebraska. If we build globally competitive companies here – and talk about them relentlessly, they will come.
At Blue Startups we have been focused on two things since launching the program: working with our companies to get them the very best advice, mentorship and structure for rapid progress as we can; and raising the awareness of what we are doing beyond Hawaii.
This first Startup Paradise event is in just a few short weeks and we are relentlessly focused on success. We have to get these companies the best start in life, the best chances to connect with investors, the best odds for success. Nothing will put us on the map like successful companies. The entire Hawaii community has rallied around these programs – we have over fifty mentors and experts that have been involved in Blue Startups alone. It has literally taken a village and countless people have given of their time, money and resources to see this dream become reality. I am incredibly grateful for all this support and proud of the progress our first cohort has accomplished with it. We intend to build on this success and we want everyone to be a part of that progress. If you have not had a chance to visit Blue Startups – please come by and check it out – our door is always open. Going forward, if you would like to be a part of building Startup Paradise up to be the kick-ass brand and global event that it needs to be – please get in touch – our work has only just begun.
This post was submitted by Chenoa Farnsworth.