‘We want to find the next Dupont’: Advice for growing Delaware’s startup community
Technical.ly Delaware By Shabria Davis
A panel of entrepreneurs and advisors shared practical tips for starting and growing a business.
The time is now for new businesses in Delaware. That’s what a panel of Delaware entrepreneurs and executives believe.
“Now is the time to seek out these new startups,” said former Happy Harry CEO Alan Levin. “We want to find the next Dupont. Now is the time to look at the entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow.”
Levin was one of five executives who spoke on the “Infrastructure and Capital” panel, during the Beacon Networking for Life “Entrepreneurship & Innovation” event at The Mill auditorium last week.
[We wrote about the fight to retain Delaware talent and how panelists at the event responded when asked if they ever thought about leaving.]
When panel moderator Dan Freeman, founding director of The Horn Program in Entrepreneurship at the University of Delaware, asked if there was a lack of venture capital in the state, all panelists agreed that that wasn’t the problem. Instead, entrepreneurs must know where to find funding and how to get themselves in front of investors.
“There is a lot of money in this state that is gettable,” said Levin.
Throughout the session, the panelists stressed the importance of being prepared.
“Know what you are looking to do, and establish goals that are realistic. Don’t go off half-cocked. You have to be ready,” he said. “You’ve got to be the smartest guy in the room when presenting your project.”
Patricia Cannon, director of intergovernmental relations & special projects at Delaware Economic Development Office, added that entrepreneurs who are not properly prepared when they meet with her about funding often lose credibility.
For those young entrepreneurs who are afraid of failure, Jeanne Mell encouraged them to become comfortable with taking risks and sometimes failing.
“There is no shame in failure,” said the Vice President of Marketing Communications and Community Engagement at Philly’s University City Science Center research and business incubator. “Failure and entrepreneurship go hand in hand.”
A final tip given by the panel was to always find the best deal for your company.
“It is important to find the right kind of people, when running a business,” said Wayne Kimmel, Managing Partner of the Philly venture capital firm SeventySix Capital. “Businesses change over time. The people stay the same.”