How Do You Empower Your People?
The “Jemez Principles” for Democratic Organizing list six concepts that NGOs, governments, and activists should follow to empower the people they represent. These principles are directly applicable to startup-ecosystem development.
1. Be Inclusive
When developing startup ecosystems, all stakeholders should have seats at the table. These stakeholders include owners, employees, investors, governments, NGOs, large corporations, traded businesses, and local businesses. Do not fear different perspectives. They will ultimately contribute to stronger solutions.
2. Emphasis on Bottom-Up Organizing
Startups must play a central role in startup-ecosystem development. If you want to grow your startup ecosystem, it is essential to mobilize founders and employees. You can create as many tax incentives and angel investor networks as you want, but if people are not motivated to start and scale companies, growing your startup ecosystem is a lost cause.
3. Let People Speak for Themselves
Startup founders and employees should dictate the services they receive and have a say in the policies aimed at them. Additionally, the European Union will be implementing General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) so that individuals have a say in the data collected on them. To help startup-ecosystem developers comply with GDPR, Startup Commons has built data-collection platforms that place users in control of their data.
4. Work Together in Solidarity and Mutuality
Startup-ecosystem developers are all working toward the same goals of supporting startups and fostering economic development in their regions. Therefore, startup-ecosystem developers should collaborate and complement each other, rather than providing overlapping services and competing for resources. Startup Commons’ Ecosystem Mapping Application solves this problem by helping organizations visualize how they fit into their larger ecosystems and discover niches for themselves.
5. Build Just Relationships Among Ourselves
In competitive capitalism, we often fail to treat each other we justice and respect. Distribution of resources and decision-making privileges should be a meritocratic process. By gathering clear data and KPIs, organizations can hold each other accountable and distribution can become a more just process. Startup Commons’ KPI Database and Dashboard assists startup-ecosystem developers in achieving accountability.
6. Commitment to Self Transformation
Startup-ecosystem developers must “walk their talk” and embody the values they hope to cultivate. It is difficult to support entrepreneurs if you fail to practice entrepreneurial principles in your own life. One way to start is by adopting the Startup Commons Business Plan Tool in your organization or government agency. If you would like further guidance, The Startup Way, written by Eric Reis, explains how you can apply entrepreneurial management principles to your organization.
As a startup-ecosystem developer, you should always keep the “Jemez Principles” close to your heart. Now that you understand these powerful principles, go out and apply them to empower your people.
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