Zac Blanco, Keiter Emerging Business & Growth team leader and Bryan Bostic, co-founder of StartUp Virginia, a nonprofit high-growth business incubator, shared their RVA entrepreneurship insights at Innsbrook Foundation’s monthly Table Talks presentation.
Richmond Innovation and Entrepreneurship – Innsbrook Table Talk Discussion Highlights
Richmond Startup Ecosystem
Richmond is changing—for the better. Bryan said he has observed a much more integrated and inclusive community compared to just a few years ago which he feels is exactly what the area needs for innovation and new businesses to grow and sustain the Richmond economy.
Acquiring and keeping talent in Richmond is also another important aspect in supporting an innovative and entrepreneurial rich business climate. Bryan shared that Richmond is in a good position to grow and develop next generation entrepreneurs and business leaders. There are numerous start-up resource organizations, professional mentors, and networking opportunities for entrepreneurs preparing to launch their business. In addition, Richmond has seven Fortune 500 firms, including Capital One, that dedicate significant resources to supporting the development of the start-up ecosystem.
Bryan stressed the next generation of leaders also look for a strong sense of community and enjoyable lifestyle when deciding where to grow their business. Richmond and the surrounding communities offer a rich culture including museums, breweries, award winning restaurants, and a variety of outdoor events and activities. There are more than 1,000 not-for-profit organizations that provide numerous volunteer opportunities. Richmond also offers a lower cost of living and less traffic than other cities. This combination of professional growth opportunities and enjoyable lifestyle are incredibly important to Richmond in order to build the start-up community.
Developing Richmond’s Entrepreneurs
Starting a business is no longer a solo mission. Today’s entrepreneurs are working to build their businesses through collaboration with other business owners and the community. At StartUp Virginia, high-growth companies are sharing ideas with each other and working with experienced mentors to help them through every stage of their business.
Zac shared that entrepreneurship extends beyond being a business owner. Existing companies need talent that can apply the entrepreneurial mindset at the corporate level in order to stay competitive in a fast-changing marketplace. Zac recalled that before joining Keiter he was certain he would start his own business. What sold him on working for Keiter was the opportunity to take an entrepreneurial approach to his career–offering new ideas, taking the lead on projects, bringing in new clients, and specializing in serving Virginia start-up companies. It’s very rewarding to work for a firm that provides you with the opportunity to own a part of the growth, direction, and success of the business.
Image: From left – Zac Blanco, Senior Manager, Keiter; Yvonne Mastromano, Executive Director, Innsbrook Foundation; Bryan Bostic, Co-Founder, StartUp Virginia
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