In retrospect, I can see how lucky I was having the opportunity to start my first company while living in the Silicon Valley area.
Much has happened since. Both growing that company, TriNet [NYSE: TNET], and relocating back to my home region of Upstate New York were big life events that also shaped my appreciation for how the Silicon Valley environment enables people to fulfill their dreams through entrepreneurship more so than anyplace else in the world.
Over time, that lead me to launch several initiatives aimed at helping first time entrepreneurs more easily connect with resources who can help them. Some of these include:
- Founder/Chairman Upstate Venture Connect [Non profit]
- Co- Founder UNY50 [Peer group of Upstate Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Leaders]
- Managing Director, UpVentures Capital [Investing in startup companies]
- Co-Founder/Chairman StartFast Venture Accelerator [Emerging tech accelerator fund and program]
So while each of those initiatives continue to develop, I’ve also had a stealth project in background to take some of the lessons learned about connecting entrepreneurs and apply in impoverished countries.
For reasons outlined on our Pilot page, I selected Jamaica as the place to develop in country resources and begin building related processes and infrastructure.
We have a ways to go yet before the work there shows meaningful impact. But already the experience has shown that many aspects of connecting entrepreneurs in the U.S. can also apply in an underdeveloped country.
The potential to have large scale impact on those living in disadvantaged circumstances is a powerful incentive to keep me plowing ahead. Looking beyond the pilot to someday expand to other countries makes this especially compelling.
I am absolutely committed to staying on this journey and look to find other like minded entrepreneurs who want to share in both the effort and intrinsic rewards of making a difference for people who truly limited in their options available.