If you have two or more members in your startup, what are you waiting for? Seriously. It’s free! There are fantastic resources, discounts, and things to learn.
Here's a small confession, for some reason Project Eve waited to sign up until we had our site up which, as many of you know, was launched less than a month ago. I’m not 100% sure why we (and by ‘we' I mean me) felt that was necessary. For whatever reason we did and frankly we missed out on some awesome discounts and services. I will try not to kick myself too hard for this given that our ‘To Do List' was (and still is) endless and there must have been some reason (ill-considered in retrospect) we held back. But you should learn from our mistake and consider signing up sooner rather than later.
Perhaps I should back up and give you a little background on Startup America. They are an independent, not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization launched at the White House in early 2011. Their goal is to help startups in the U.S. grow and succeed in order to accelerate domestic job growth and augment American competitiveness globally.
This is how the Startup America folks explain it:
“We’re bringing together some of the country’s most successful organizations to provide valuable resources to young companies with high growth potential. We are focused on providing resources in five key areas: Talent, Services, Expertise, Customers and Capital. We are also working on a regional basis to identify and help accelerate entrepreneurial ecosystems across the country.”
Although I urge you to visit the Startup America site and see for yourself, here is a sampling of what you will find when you join:
1) Discounts and Deals – I just found a 40% discount on Fed Ex services, free Cisco Video Conferencing, $100 towards office or meeting space from LiquidSpace, discounts on Dell laptops, three months of business planning software/services from LivePlan. That is just scratching the surface!
2) Learning Series – They offer virtual seminars and webinars throughout the month. This Monday’s is about making your startup media ready, this Tuesday there is something called Iconic Entrepreneurs with one of my favorite tunic designers Tory Burch. In the past month they have also had pitch coaching sessions where you can practice your pitch and get feedback as well and Q&A sessions with VC’s.
3) Regional Support – Startup America is forming localized support networks so you can get access to localized resources and support from experienced entrepreneurs and businesses in your area. They appear to be adding more all the time and just added Pennsylvania this month.
4) Ways to publicize your new product or service or a news feature on your company. (We just submitted our feature in Crain’s!)
The two limitations, as far as I can see, are that membership is limited to startups with two or more partners or employees and to those of you that are U.S. based. My guess is that the Startup America folks believe that ventures with two or more employees have a greater potential to hire more employees (their main goal) than those of you with solo ventures or as I’ve heard some say recently ‘solopreneurs’. I’m not so sure about that, but for those of you with 2+ it’s hard to see a downside. Click here to check things out for yourself!