Vanessa Wagner, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Manager understands the importance of creating an entrepreneur-centered ecosystem to support growth for small businesses and startups. “This type of strategy can help connect entrepreneurs to learn from one another, mentor other startups and provide feedback to entrepreneurial support organizations such as local incubators and chambers”. To advance this strategy Vanessa and the team at Loudoun County Department of Economic Development seek to partner with organizations that put the entrepreneur first, such as Fosterly.
Fosterly is a community of entrepreneurs, creators, creatives, and collaborators, all working together to tackle new challenges in business and technology. Since 2011 Fosterly has hosted events and shared resources with entrepreneurs in the DC Metro.
Vanessa recently caught up with Adam Zuckerman, Founder, to discuss the value that the Fosterly community can bring as a new partner to LoudounSmallBiz.Org.
-What inspired you to begin Fosterly?
Fosterly was created organically in that it began by a group of entrepreneurs meeting for informal “office hours” at coffee shops in the DC area. I’d post to social media, people would come, and everyone would benefit. As things evolved in to a blog, website, and larger events Fosterly formed so it had some legal structure. That said, it’s always been double bottom lined focused with a goal of supporting the entrepreneurial and creative economy in the region.
– What makes Fosterly different than other community boards or social sites?
Everyone who spends time on Fosterly has a full time job elsewhere. Yet, although it often times mean we have to approach things from a different perspective, we’ve been hyper focused on making sure that what we do has a real and measurable impact. We’ve been called “an authentic voice for entrepreneurs” and that’s something important to the team.
-Who should be using Fosterly?
If you’re a collaborative entrepreneur in three region Fosterly is here to help. Our ultra collaborative study halls have helped people find co-founders, secure funding, and find answers to the problems they might have. At bottom, Fosterly helps people stop networking and start building relationships.
– What is one Fosterly initiative that you wish everyone knew about?
Hands down, it’s the Startup Census. The first of its kind, we’ve partnered with more than 75 organizations to help discover the true makeup of the impact startups have on the region. It’s open for founders to respond until December 2nd, and the more information we gather the better it is for everyone. (More info at www.fosterly.com)
-If a visitor could only attend 1 event which one is not to be missed?
Last year was Collaborate, the region’s largest Innovation event of the year. This year would be one of our many Study Halls (if you are seeking to meet other entrepreneurs) in person. If you’re looking for interns this summer keep an eye out for Intern Match in the spring.
Connect with Fosterly and more than 65 other resource providers using the Resource Navigator at http://www.loudounsmallbiz.org/resources/find-a-resource