One of the things that has consistently impressed me in startup communities is the willingness to pay it forward. It seems to be a universal agreement in every ecosystem that I have seen.
Entrepreneurs have a heightened sense of the many contributors it requires to achieve success. The potential customers willing to spend 20 minutes in a customer development interview, the other founders willing to lift their heads up from their own startup to offer feedback and advice as well as the advisors, mentors and others who pitch in to lend experience, expertise and extra hands are all part of the journey. Like the volunteers who hand water and power gel to runners of a marathon, they all cheer when the runner crosses the finish line.
While many cities are looking to entrepreneurship as an economic driver what is overlooked is that this attitude can be the ultimate catalyst. We just saw a great local example of this in New Orleans where the Jolly family just made a large donation to the Newman School. Tarun Jolly (TJ) is the founder, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of Renaissance RX, a rapidly-growing medical services business based in New Orleans that has attracted funding from TPG. At the announcement TJ said “As medical practitioners and entrepreneurs, Rupa and I believe strongly in the power of science education to fuel innovation and improve lives.” I love that he identified himself as an entrepreneur and I love that he has not lost his commitment to paying it forward. And hopefully it is contagious. You can see the full announcement here.
In this spirit, I try to end all my conversations with, “is there anything I can do for you?” So I will end this post with it as well. Let me know if there is anything I can help you with.