Every ecosystem has its own league of startup experts who develop their respective economies through hosting events and counseling founders. From entrepreneurial leaders in FI’s 4,000+ person network, to those operating on their own, the Founder Institute salutes all who strive to build their local startup communities.
In our efforts to commend all ecosystem leaders, we conducted a social campaign which allowed Startup Ecosystem Champions to exhibit how they’re developing their city’s entrepreneurial culture. With over two dozen applicants, we were able to identify six leaders who’ve worked extremely hard to support the advancement of entrepreneurs in their ecosystem.
From narrowing the gap between women and technology, to paving the way for the 3D Printing community, we introduce some recent Startup Ecosystem Champions of 2015:
Lizelle Van Vuuren - Founder of Women Who Startup
Lizelle is a leading entrepreneur and community builder in the Denver area. She is the co-founder of Startup Denver and the founder of Women Who Startup; a community to celebrate, connect, and empower, Women Founders, Women Who Code, and Women Who Tech in Denver and beyond. Through her efforts to bridge the gap between polarized community platforms in Colorado, Lizelle has just begun her journey to change the face of entrepreneurship not only in her community, but worldwide.
I spend most of my time, when I'm not launching ideas and growing startups, promoting and providing resources to entrepreneurs, specifically in Colorado, although my network spans the globe. I'm a ‘diversity in tech and equality for all’ advocate, and entrepreneurship is my religion, political affiliation, etc.
I believe that entrepreneurship can solve the world’s toughest problems, and I know that's apart of my life's work. I hope to continue to make a difference in the world by empower others to startup, be bold, nurture their entrepreneurial itch, and to simply do!"
Read more about Lizelle’s efforts: here
Vanessa Juneau - President and Co-founder of Open3DC
As the president and co-founder of the 3D Printing community Open3DC in Seattle, Vanessa has crafted an educational outreach program that aims to stimulate the adoption and usage of 3D printing and additive manufacturing technologies. Since beginning her career as a 3D modeler in the video game industry at Electronic Arts in 1997, Vanessa has graduated to hosting networking events, training seminars, bootcamps, and Open 3DC monthly conferences and workshops.
I think the most important thing to take into consideration when building community is fulfilling the needs of community members. Each individual in the community should benefit, feel a sense of belonging, and share an emotional connection to the group or community. When members of a group share past and future experiences together, it inevitably create a close community.”
Learn more about Vanessa’s efforts: here
Yannick Roy - Co-Founder of BCI Montreal
Yannick is the co-founder of BCIMontreal, which hosts meetups, workshops, hackathons and festivals to educate, facilitate and accelerate the use of Brain-Computer Interfaces in Montréal. The organization has recently partnered with WearHacks on "Project X" to disrupt the innovation in Montreal.
My personal take home message of the day is that we live in an amazing time with endless possibilities. We now feel that we have a shot at breaking ‘the code of the brain’. The biggest challenge in history and we, the ‘2000 era’, are the ones doing it (trying, at least). In order to succeed thought, we need to all work together and collaborate more.”
Learn more about Yannick’s efforts: here
Carlos R. Cobian - Founder of H3 Tech Conference
Carlos is the founder of the platform H3 Tech Conference (Hackers, Hustlers and Hipsters), a platform to promote innovation-based entrepreneurship by encouraging and celebrating successful collisions between entrepreneurs, engineers and designers. The goal of the conference is to create new business ventures that can contribute to the social and economic development of the world.
The importance of the conference is to allow young entrepreneurs to present their products to international investors, which is key to close the deal and bring your application into production and sale.”
Learn more about Carlos’s efforts: here
Ramphis Castro - Facilitator/Organizer Startup Weekend Puerto Rico
As a serial entrepreneur and pioneer in cross-platform native mobile technology, Ramphis started from scratch to help cultivate the startup community in Puerto Rico. With ties to The Founder Institute, Startup Weekend, Startup NEXT, Startup Digest, Hack Puerto Rico, CodeTrotters, Start-Up Chile, and others, Ramphis has trained and supported the advancement of entrepreneurs, the creation of angel investor groups, and the globalization of economic development policy.
Learn more about Ramphis’s efforts: here
Nerma Albertor - Co-founder Centro para Emprendedores
Nerma co-founded Centro para Emprendedores (Center of Entrepreneurship), an organization that offers a unique coaching program and a support system for entrepreneurs. She has organized six Startup Weekends, trained over 800 entrepreneurs, and has helped over 100 startups over the past two years.
Organizing Startup Weekends gives me the opportunity to host an event where people realize that they can do things in short time, and with the necessary accompaniment, become successful business leaders.”
Learn more about Nerma’s efforts: here
If you're passionate about growing your local economy through entrepreneurship, then apply to be a Founder Institute Local Director today.