Ask what people think when they hear the term “entrepreneur,” and you are likely to hear about rugged individualism, risk-taking, and going where no one has gone before.
As co-chair of the Borderplex Alliance 2020 Entrepreneurship Task Force and an entrepreneur myself, I won’t deny that starting a business can involve long hours of unsung labor and a certain amount of risk. It may not be for everyone, but far more people have it in them to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship today is less about endurance and more about initiative, creativity, and leadership.
Perhaps most importantly, being an entrepreneur today is less about toiling in solitude and more about building relationships. The Borderplex region offers many spaces where innovators looking to disrupt can learn from each other. Small business owners might find a support network from the Borderplex Alliance, or at NMSU’s Arrowhead Center, or at the Medical Center of the America’s Cardwell Collaborative, which brings together players in the biomedical community; or at TechHUB, a Silicon Valley-styled site spread across a 1.8-acre compound that once housed the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
These groups and other innovation hubs helped El Paso earn recognition last year from TechWallet as the second-best city for Hispanic entrepreneurs out of 150 U.S. cities surveyed.
If you have been pondering your own entrepreneurial idea now is the perfect time to get involved with the Borderplex’s startup community. November 13th kicks off Global Entrepreneurship Week (“GEW”), an international initiative that will involve 35,000 events in 170 countries around the world. The Borderplex Alliance is coordinating our region's participation in Global Entrepreneurship Week as a part of the Borderplex 2020 initiative - which was created to unify leaders in the region with a shared vision and strategy for regional growth. Now in its implementation phase, Borderplex 2020 is unifying our community through events like these to help make sure we can thrive, grow, and compete globally.
In the Borderplex region, GEW will feature a range of events across El Paso and Cd. Juárez, including pitch competitions, hackathons, and talks with leading global entrepreneurs.
The Hub of Human Innovation will host One Million Cups, a weekly hour-long event where the Borderplex’s entrepreneurs come together to share their experiences and find mentors in the startup community.
The Medical Center of the Americas will host a Proof-of-Concept event. Most of the 11 companies being funded by the MCA will present information about their technology and business concepts in an “open house” style event.
CoWork Oasis will host events throughout the week aimed at our region’s students. This includes a LaunchX entrepreneurship club meeting, a nationwide program in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which gives students hands-on experience in entrepreneurship by providing education and resources to launch their own ventures.
I am most excited about a two-day event taking place next Wednesday in Juarez and Thursday in El Paso. RESET (www.reset.ws) is designed to introduce young people—especially university and high school students—to innovative business leaders from the U.S. and Mexico. The event is structured around three pillars—creative industries, future innovations, and social innovation—and will feature more than 30 speakers from organizations such as NASA, Amazon, National Geographic, and Marvel Comics.
Teams that pre-register at www.reset.ws can participate in an all-day hackathon on both Wednesday at Technology Hub Ciudad Juarez and on Thursday at The Venue in El Paso TX. Participants will be asked to identify a problem and develop a prototype solution to present to a panel of judges by the end of the day. Projects will be judged on their use of technology, as well as their viability, functionality, and innovation. The top three will we awarded cash prizes.
If you are wondering if you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur, GEW is a risk-free proposition since all events are free. Come see if you have what it takes.
Ricky Mora is Co-Chair, BP 2020 Entrepreneurship Task Force and CEO, The TechHUB.