Prior to the class’s second meeting with the Kalamazoo startup community on Friday, January 30th, the class revised a framework that was created before the trips to Boulder, CO and Austin, TX. The framework was intended to define and describe the elements that drive a successful startup community. The revision process was a great opportunity for my classmates and I to not only reflect on the trips and the framework, but how this course will impact our future outlook on community. By comparing the course’s first meeting at Starting Gate with the most recent, I was able to observe how this course had enhanced my understanding of community and confidence in general.
From the the class’s first meeting with Starting Gate, I recall very little student participation in the meeting. The class’s professor John facilitated the gathering by explaining the logistics of the course in its entirety, transitioning to Starting Gate introductions, and asking questions about the Kalamazoo Startup Community. In the most recent meeting at Starting Gate, the class lead the discussion.
To start the meeting my classmates and I gave a presentation on the factors that contribute to the success of Boulder, CO and Austin, TX startup up communities. I was able to talk about the roles that keystones, entrepreneurs, and markets played in the economic ecosystems of Boulder and Austin. Being able to discuss these findings with the members of Starting Gate and Mayor of Kalamazoo, Bobby Hopewell, showed how far I had come from the student that barely spoke a word in the first Starting Gate meeting. Being able to reflect on the progress I made and the amount of information that I learned in a relatively short period of time gave me a new level of confidence.
From this course I have seen how others have achieved and continue to achieve goals that my immediate surroundings, prior to taking this class, would have claimed to be impossible. I no longer feel anything is impossible. Thank you John, Fareed, Alexis, Eric, Ethan, Elyse, Katie, Mackenzie, Jill, Josie and Simba for participating in this journey with me. I will forever incorporate the knowledge that I gained from this course to better myself and by result, naturally influence my community.