The number of companies, people, administrations, tools, software dedicated to help or support startups is overwhelming. While insomuch a good news (especially for us), I’m worrying somewhat that more people and energy seem to be dedicated to help startups that to make startups.
As you may know, we’re actually building a startup named 8th color. While the road is often rocky (those are the good moments - the rest of the time, it is just bottomless precipices), the help we found along is nothing short of incredible, moving the task from being impossible to just hard.
At some point, the variety and sheer quantity of the support offer just become... bewildering.
As disclaimer, we are located in Brussels, Belgium. A part of those offers are “local”, but there is more probably equivalents in your area.
Need to incubate in Belgium? Join fellow founders at the Founder Institute. Or at the MIC Boostcamp. Or Nest’up. Or IBBT. Or take a look internationally, going to YCombinator or Seedcamp (if you are in Europe).
Do not know what a startup is Experiment one in two days in a Startup Weekend.
Require a training or expertise on your finance or sales strategy? Ask the BEA.
Searching for a cofounder? Go to Founder Dating, or participate in the dating events.
Have an innovative project for which some public money could help? Submit your project to Innoviris.
Want help to expand abroad? There is an office for that: Brussels Invest & Export.
The good part
This is nothing but a tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurs, and notably for the would-be entrepreneurs. We may not have (yet) used each and every option listed here, but in our modest 12 months of existence, we’ve already benefited from quite a lot of them. The basics are to listen, learn, always decide yourself, and use each and every opportunity to discharge you of everything that is not your main work: Building and Selling a great software.
The unnerving part
This list comes right out of my head, I probably forgot some, and I’m not especially well connected in the startup world. Even so, the list is big and the offers are intersecting on large areas. So who to contact? To do what? Just sorting it take time (may be we need an app for that ?)... Time that we do not have (we are looking for help to gain, not lose, time).
The more philosophical part is that I’m somewhat bothered by seeing so much people devoting so much energy to helping startups. I think that if you think that the world would be a better place with more young innovative companies, the logical step would be to build one. Not a “startup helping startup”, not an incubator, not a marketplace for startups or I do not know with other “Meta-Startup” form will emerge in the few next weeks.
“Just” a company building a product that helps some people solve a problem they have.