Mayors weigh in - how to build a startup city

As entrepreneurship continues to develop across the United States, mayors are focusing in on their specific cities by imparting new ways to encourage and support entrepreneurship. Each year city mayors, along with universities, research laboratories, startup accelerators, and other entities, gather for the Mayors Conference on Entrepreneurship. Hosted by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the conference serves as a place where these entities can exchange and brainstorm ideas for how to impart successful systems of support for their communities of entrepreneurs. Mayors aim to answer some of the most important questions about what their cities may need. For example, what ingredients will yield new growth in their specific cities? How will these ingredients mix together? What will the end product be? During the conference, mayors are able to explore these questions together. Their combined efforts are able to foster a larger impact on entrepreneurial success.

Mayors from the 2014 conference provided their insight into how to build a startup city. Like anything else, there is no perfect or fool proof way to design and implement the perfect entrepreneurial plan. Every city is unique, and as a result, needs one-of-a-kind planning, organization, and execution to yield successful results. Mayor Nancy McFarlane of Raleigh, North Carolina proposes that it is important to get proactive and build public partnerships. In her city, she hired the city’s first Entrepreneurship Manager to oversee the activities and needs of local businesses. Raleigh also dedicated $100,000 towards Citrix’s, a software company, new accelerator. As a public partner, Citrix will help teams access capital and other resources, as well as apply for city funds.

Similar to Raleigh’s efforts, Detroit, Michigan Mayor Mike Duggan hired a new head of entrepreneurship to attract individuals to the city who are looking to do business. Duggan also launched a $3 million dollar program for Detroit, simultaneous with the city’s tech renaissance and downtown expansion. Duggan hopes to make entrepreneurship a city-wide endeavor by encouraging businesses to operate “not just downtown but also in the neighborhoods”.

While similar to one another, these mayoral efforts are only a few of the ideas generated from the conference. As these mayors have watched their plans in place over the last year, they will be able to offer greater insight into creating successful strategies. With this, the 2015 conference will be evermore beneficial to its attendees, making it a wise choice for all parties interested in fostering entrepreneurship.