Startup Week is making great progress thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers. If you haven’t seen the schedule yet or want to submit an event, you can find all the details at https://akstartupweek.com/.
While there’s undeniable passion and effort being poured into this year’s event, there are challenges that need addressing. The unity and collaboration among ecosystem builders seem less evident this year. Typically, Startup Week would be gearing up to introduce one or two Startup Weekend events in the fall, but as of now, it’s uncertain if these will take place.
The sustainability of angel programs, which are vital for funding budding startups, is also a concern. There are indications that due to limited resources, these programs might be on hiatus this coming year.
A recent decline from an innovation program to support a Startup Week event was surprising, especially when focusing on critical areas like microgrids and local power resilience.
Engagement from Alaska universities in the realm of startups and entrepreneurship appears to be decreasing. The historical role of universities as pillars of innovation and startups, coupled with the support of local corporations, is crucial for a thriving ecosystem. In this context, a shoutout to GCI for consistently supporting our volunteer-driven initiatives, which, by the way, have contributed to 89% of net new job creation in Alaska over the past decade!
The current trend seems to be individuals and organizations working diligently within their silos but finding it challenging to contribute to broader ecosystem-building efforts.
It’s not about pointing fingers; every group and individual is contributing positively with the resources and capacity they have. Yet, despite substantial investment in economic development, there’s a need to amplify our collaborative efforts. If we’re to shift the trajectory for a brighter and more interconnected economic future in Alaska, it’s essential to foster broader community-building initiatives and collaboration.
Here’s to hoping for a stronger, more united innovation ecosystem and startup community.