As I slowly wrap my head around the fact that November is coming to a close, I realize it is just the beginning of an adventure for some.
I was lucky enough to play a role in the full production of this year’s Crowdfunding and Cocktails, where I helped people and event in general to flow. Many people may recognize me as the check-in girl – a job I loved, considering I already knew quite a bit about those competing and was excited to meet them.
I was also a bystander at the event. I got the chance to see entrepreneurs, both young and old, with kid in a candy store smiles as they talked about their new business babies and their plans for them.
There is a certain feeling being around people, particularly startup founders, who are brave enough to put their own ideas and value on the line. They are making a statement of confidence and courage. Not confidence in the fact they will win or have the hottest new product out by 2017, but confidence in the fact that they know they can change something, or even change the world. A world that is constantly spewing an image of “No” is not welcoming to an entrepreneur, in fact it’s flat out frightening.
I can still barely speak in front of a room without forgetting the next word I want to say. If you think presenting a new business idea in front of a crowded room, in two minutes, is easy… Why don’t you come give it a try next year?
That’s where my favorite part comes into play – risk. You can seriously feel the adrenaline in the room even before the pitches start. These people are speaking with passion. They want you to know that they understand, and they want to connect. And to me, that’s what feels real. It’s an emotional and mental game; it’s raw and in the moment. If you can’t improvise, you might be in the wrong industry.
With risk comes reward, and even those who didn’t walk away with a prize were happy to let all of us know how thankful they are to even be a part of a community that wants to help them grow. Did I mention how humbling it was to hear and see all of this?
Our minds, somehow still able to function while in a constant spin, have the power to create the unknown. The amount of tenacity, perseverance and resilience that it takes to move an idea into an action and an action into a reality is something only an entrepreneur could explain to you – even if they don’t know they are an entrepreneur yet. Every single contestant has more strength than they know, and I know that because they actually showed up and got up there on that stage.
Being a part of this experience was not only unique and rewarding but also invigorating and inspiring. There are people, everywhere at this moment, solving problems that you and I face on a day-to-day basis. Watching an entire city, a community, a family of people come together to watch something new grow and their dedication to continuing to nourish it is something I won’t be able to replace.
The strength and intelligence that Nick and Chris are able to provide through Startup Palm Beach is more than a shoulder to lean on – it truly is a safe place to land. Welcome home, startups!