What makes or breaks your favorite city, community — or more importantly — your hometown?
I think it’s culture. Culture is what differentiates all the places we travel and enjoy from each other. There are hundreds of professors and thousands of years of research on culture, so I do not claim to be an expert or to get overly philosophical about this. But, I do spend alot of time thinking about our local culture, because it also defines our startup community. What components make an entrepreneur-friendly environment? People have written a lot about this, too. Here’s a good example.
Although there are many pieces to the puzzle, I keep coming back to one anchoring thought. I believe that a city is only as strong as the people who live in it. It is the people and their ideas, spirit, and willingness to participate in the community (and feeling accepted in that community) that ultimately defines a place.
So what defines our community? The Knoxville community? Or are we East Tennessee? Sometimes I don’t even know. Who are we to the outside world, and even more important, who are we to ourselves? These are the questions I’ve been asking myself at Knoxville Entrepreneur Center for the last 2 years, and If you are still reading, I hope you’ll ask the same of yourself. For now, I’m going to attempt to answer both, from my own perspective…
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