Diving into the Deep End of Chicago Entrepreneurship

Over the past six weeks, I took a leap into Chicago’s thriving entrepreneurship community.  By joining VentureSHOT in the role of Entrepreneur Collaboration Director, I’ve had a chance to get to know many entrepreneurs in the Chicago community.  I’ve witnessed firsthand the great work VentureSHOT is doing to help entrepreneurs grow revenue, scale their business, and get funded.

In my new role I’ve attended a number of interesting events hosted by the Chicago Lean Startup Circle, Technori, Tech Cocktail, The Social Media Club of Chicago, and others. I’ve seen new companies join VentureSHOT and learned more about the success stories of entrepreneurs who are members of the VentureSHOT community.

As the Entrepreneur Collaboration Director I have three main roles:

  1. Meet startup and early-stage growth companies, new strategic partners and resources, and investors.
  2. Support and assist new companies that join VentureSHOT.
  3. Collaborate with existing VentureSHOT companies and partners.

I’m looking forward to expanding the presence, reach, and recognition of VentureSHOT which is already pretty well known in the Chicago startup and entrepreneurship community. I run into at least one person at every event who’s been to a Funding Feeding Frenzy, a VentureSHOT event, or knows Dave Culver.

Prior to joining VentureSHOT, I lived and worked in Arizona. I had the opportunity to work with my family in a franchise business in the in-home care for seniors market. We operated as a regional developer, kind of like a smaller version of the national franchise organization. There are some parallels in the outreach, collaboration, and business support to what I’m doing now although the industries are much more diverse!

Early in my career I was a computer scientist working on computer and network security for the U.S. Navy at a research and development facility. I had many opportunities to expand my technical skill set and to work with people from all across the country and internationally. I worked for the largest employer in the Western world i.e. the federal government, and now I have a chance to work with entrepreneurs who are just starting out with one or two people.

It’s a very exciting time to be part of the Chicago entrepreneurial community as Chicago entrepreneurs are developing an identity and style all their own. As Jason Fried said the other night at Founder’s Stories, Chicago should strive to be authentic and not follow or mimic any other model. Chicago looks like a great place to start and build a business, and I’m excited to be a part of the VentureSHOT team and to work with great entrepreneurs in Chicago.

Ed Cotter
Entrepreneur Collaboration Director