The beginning of a new year is a nice moment to look back at the last year, think about the accomplishments, and look forward, setting new directions. For Startup Odense, 2016 has been an exciting year, the year it all started. I am happy to share our story with you, although the story is actually all of ours to begin with.
Gathering the Community
In the end of 2015, Odense was awarded “Entrepreneurial Municipality of the Year”, which we proudly showcase on our site. At that moment, Rasmus and I looked at ourselves, we looked at you, we looked at all of us. What we saw was a large but inconveniently dispersed entrepreneurship community in Odense. The idea for Startup Odense was born with the aim to bring together our community.
After many months of talking to our network in the entrepreneurship community, we saw enough need and interest to launch our website, www.startupodense.com. At this time, the main focus of the platform was basic information sharing in relation to entrepreneurial events, actors, and resources in and around Odense. Most importantly, the whole thing was entirely community-driven. You were the ones putting events on the calendar, you were the ones identifying the valuable, locally available resources, and you were the ones introducing us to more actors in the community.
Strengthening the Community
With a digital platform as a strong foundation, the next step was to play a more active role in facilitating the strengthening of the community, driven by the community. We approached this with two key methods:
Digital to Physical
One of our dreams was to take the digital platform and bring it to the physical world, while keeping it community-driven. At Tinderbox 2016, a part of the community met and we decided then and there to plan a number of pilots, where startups would host community events (shout-out to our first hosts: Edentic, House of Code, and Morning Train). Now, these events have grown to highly popular and well known “Startup Odense Friday Bar”. To increase the value of these events for all the stakeholders, the events have now been renamed to “Startup Odense Community Meetup”, and we will test our different concepts to complement the social aspect with value creation aspects.
With the transformation from a decentralized and dispersed community to a more tightly-knit community, we saw great potential in the facilitation of knowledge sharing. Our approach needed to be community-driven, and therefore relevant for the many different types of stakeholders included in the community. Through blog posts written by local authors, Startup Odense aims to increase the strength of the community. In the summer of 2016, we published our first blog post (shout-out to our first contributors: Martin Brems, Jonathan Bornemann Junker, and Anna Aagaard) and since, we have had contributions from local academics, local startups, and local service providers.
Growing the Community
A new year is here! What is left for Startup Odense in 2017? Besides continuous improvement of the initiatives focusing on gathering and strengthening the community, we see opportunities to facilitate growing the community together. After some valuable suggestion from partners, we would like to increase our information in relation to resources to decrease the barrier to start a business and join our thriving community. Additionally, this could make it easier for startups to reach the many service providers that are locally available.
And there is more! In order to continue our activities in the future and secure growth, we have recently officially established our non-profit organization! An association needs members, and for us our members are crucial as a leverage of our initiatives in many different ways. Therefore: Join the movement and show your support by becoming a free member!
As you may have noticed, I am writing a lot about the community, about you. Part of making a community-driven initiative work, is through feedback from you. So, please contact us with any feedback regarding the Startup Odense initiative. Feedback is welcome in any form, but we are particularly interested in suggestions for improvement of current initiatives and suggestions of new initiatives. And remember:
Do you have an entrepreneurial event? Put it in the calendar!
Do you have a startup? Add it to our website!
Do you have a story to share? Write a blog post for us!
Do you want to host the community next? Contact us!
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To kick off a successful and entrepreneurial 2017 in style together, we have a Startup Odense Community Meetup coming up this Friday at 16:00 with one of the key players in our ecosystem, Coworking Plus, who have been so kind to host the event and invite us to their newly added location in Kochsgade. See you there!