One of the most pressing issues for entrepreneurs is making connection with like minded people. Be they peers, investors, or mentors and advisers. But making those connections can be difficult.
Luckily, there are any number of organizations in Portland designed to help entrepreneurs do just that. Problem is: you might not know them. That’s why I’m starting a new series. To introduce you two. And you two. And you two.
We’re kicking it off with a guest post by Lakshmi Jagannathan. Meet the Oregon chapter of TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs).
TiE, awesome Portland startup person. Awesome Portland startup person, TiE.
I’ll let you two take it from here.
Where are you on the Entrepreneurship scale?
- Be an entrepreneur? You’ve got to be kidding. I have a life you know. I would rather spend my time at a book reading in Powell’s or see 25 movies in 2 weeks at PIFF.
- Well… there’s this gleam in my eye. Yeah, sure, I would like to be my own boss someday.
- I did it – I quit my day job! I’ve designed this absolutely cool product, but how do I pitch to an investor?
- I’m a successful serial entrepreneur (even if I say so myself) and I wouldn’t mind being a mentor.
Actually, it doesn’t matter where you are on that spectrum.
If you have any interest in enterprise, TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs), a global not-for-profit organization that fosters entrepreneurship, is for you. With a network of 55 chapters in countries ranging from Sweden and Dubai to India and Malaysia, TiE has brought together entrepreneurs, business people, government policy makers, professional service providers, academics, and the media, with the objective of enhancing the entrepreneurial climate of different geographic areas. Though the focus is often on technology, TiE members have started companies ranging from a fast-food delivery company in Australia to a Rickshaw (Pedicab) workers union in India. In a report entitled “Global Heroes” in 2009, The Economist commended TiE for being “a powerful force of doing good” and supporting entrepreneurs during the economic slump.
The local chapter was launched in 2007 with an inaugural keynote address by the late C.K. Prahlad, the distinguished professor and internationally recognized business consultant famous as the father of the concepts of “core competence” and “the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid.” Monthly programming has included topics ranging from Energy Monitoring Devices and Disruptive Innovation to Bootstrapping for Start-ups. The independent movie “Outsourced” (now a TV show) was screened by TiE in Portland, with members of the production team and cast speaking about its unique promotion through viral marketing.
One of the objectives of TiE in Oregon is to bring the benefits of its international connections to local entrepreneurs. Last year, TiE hosted a reception for a delegation of Power Ministers from North Eastern India. Portland Mayor Sam Adams engaged in an interesting discussion with the group about clean energy. World-renowned lawyer and environmental activist M.C. Mehta spoke about “Saving the Taj Mahal” at a lecture co-sponsored with the Lewis and Clark Law College which has launched an India-exchange program. TiE also helped a local semi-conductor and solar manufacturing equipment maker explore the Indian market through its connections there.
So it doesn’t matter what your focus is—whether you like Solar cells and Samosas (that was the title of one event), Bollywood Dancing (the organization hosted a booth at the Pioneer Courthouse square on India Day) or the history of Wikipedia (Ward Cunningham, the inventor of the Wiki technology spoke at an event with the theme of “Inspiration—the Bedrock of Innovation,”
One member, Keith Lofstrom, had this to say about the reason why he comes to TiE meetings: “I am grateful to spend time with a group of smart and optimistic people who are changing the world.”
Membership in the organization includes benefits such as discounted fees for events, free admission to selected events, BiZSpark accounts and mentorship opportunities with investors, industry leaders and seasoned entrepreneurs. TiE holds monthly events, workshops and networking opportunities for entrepreneurs.
Mark your calendar for the following Oregon TiE events:
- February 24: Open Source Companies with Puppet Labs founder Luke Kanies and Stuart Cohen of CSI (6 PM Stoel Rives 900 SW Fifth Ave., Suite 2600 Portland, OR 97204)
- February 26: Participate in a pitch-presentation workshop with solar energy entrepreneur Ravi Sinha
- March 16: “Taking on Groupon” featuring local group buying companies who are taking on the giant famous for “almost being bought by Google.” (6 PM Perkins Coie 1120 Northwest Couch Street Portland, OR 97209)
Visit www.oregon.tie.org to see a listing of events.
Interested in introducing your organization to the folks who read Silicon Florist? Drop an email to siliconflorist at gmail dot com.