As a small-town entrepreneur, how do you build a tech community?

In today’s age of remote working and modern entrepreneurship, your geographic location should not be a barrier to your ability to connect with others and access talent. On the contrary, it could work to your favour. The employees who are leaving big cities and the incomes that come with them are doing so in order to start innovation in places where there has previously been little or no innovation. In addition, the United States experienced the largest number of company applications ever recorded in the third quarter of 2020.

But what happens after that? A legally established company does not automatically translate into the vital communities, talent, and networks that we require. This was the predicament I found myself in while I was starting my business and establishing a community in Libya. Until recently, smart computer grads with huge goals were sometimes restricted to paint-by-numbers software jobs or academic positions that didn’t always scream innovation. I discovered that there were few opportunities to interact with and chat with other dreamers who shared my interests.

It was a classic instance of the chicken or the egg, to put it another way. When it comes to priorities, which comes first: the business or the community? After spending years taking advantage of the opportunities that were made available to me in North America, I made the decision to return to Libya and share what I had learnt.

The most important thing is to concentrate on coworking and networking.

When I returned to Libya after spending years in Silicon Valley, I felt like an alien in my own country – I was out of touch with the people and the culture. The credibility that would have enabled me to nurture and create a tech network and team seemed completely out of reach at the time.

Instead of looking for ego, look for ambition.

When you first start putting up a community, it might be difficult to locate people who are committed to being there for the long haul. Look for individuals who will serve as the group’s foundation and who will guide and encourage the group’s growth. Look for folks who have a clear sense of what they want to achieve.

I discovered that some of Libya’s brightest tech graduates were being slotted into mundane, day-to-day IT jobs, despite their superior intelligence. However, this is not due to a scarcity of talent; rather, it is due to a scarcity of opportunity. Increase the number of growth possibilities in your network that are attractive to the right people. Look for those who are more concerned with their own development than they are with monetary compensation.


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