Becoming an entrepreneur today is not unheard of. Succeeding is. Only 45% of businesses survive beyond their first five years. And those are just the numbers for survival. There’s nothing that states those businesses are in good shape. You need to use every possible tool at your disposal.
Nish Patel, the founder of ClutchPoints, a company that allows you to follow your favorite sports team’s games as a social stream intertwined with stats, play-by-play and real-time chat while you are on the go. During his time studying at UCLA as a double-major in Biology and Economics, he experienced firsthand how difficult a lack of entrepreneurial support can be to initiating a startup.
This guide is going to introduce you to the importance of immersing yourself in an entrepreneurship community.
No Background No Support
During his sophomore year living in the UCLA dorms, Patel came across the origins of ClutchPoints by bridging the gap between his passion and love to build. However, in 2012 there was no real place for the entrepreneurial student community at UCLA. Patel was thinking there must be like-minded students on campus with a similar passion. Therefore he went about looking to enhance UCLA’s entrepreneurship community by co-founding Bruin Entrepreneurs. Since a UCLA entrepreneurship community didn’t exist for undergrads, Patel was forced to go about things on his own.
This is a difficult position for entrepreneurs to be in. They can only learn by making mistakes, and these mistakes could be costly enough to put an end to any hope of success. Having a well-established entrepreneurship community is advantageous because you can learn from both peers and those who came before, which is exactly what Patel did and was able to do for numerous others on campus.
An Appetite for Help
As the co-founder of Bruin Entrepreneurs, Patel quickly saw that entrepreneurs at UCLA needed guidance. Especially students that had no technical background. Therefore Patel directed a program at LA Hacks called HackCamp, a non-traditional program where 50 students with a non-technical background had the ability to learn how to code within a 36-hour bootcamp enforced schedule. KedarKhire, one of those 50 students chimed in on what HackCamp accomplished for his future career:
"The 36 hours I spent at HackCamp provided me a solid intro to technology. Although I didn't major in CS, I was encouraged to learn, pursue creative projects, and explore careers in the industry."
Patel’s entrepreneurial efforts at UCLA earned him a student honor in entrepreneurship in May of 2015 by UCLA Chancellor Gene Block.
There are growing entrepreneurship communities all over the country. Entrepreneurs are crying out for help in an attempt to reverse the dismal startup failure rates rampant in virtually every industry today. Students need help finding more non-traditional career options and they want it now.
So where can entrepreneurs find help with their latest ventures?
There are now startup support groups everywhere. Students can take advantage of co-working spaces, casual meet and greet affairs, and seminars specifically aimed at local startup communities.
How Could a Startup Group Indicate that You Have a Great Idea?
Patel’s latest venture is ClutchPoints, an app that allows people to experience real-life moments they want from their chosen NBA, MLB, & NFL games. They can do this on the go and take in the emotion of the event as if they were actually there. It’s a bold new concept that goes beyond the 24-hour sports coverage available today. They’re on the brink of developing the world’s largest sports social network.
There was no guarantee that people would respond to this idea. It’s the same issue all entrepreneurs have. They don’t know whether their idea is going to get off the ground. They have to create a prototype and find someone impartial to test it. That’s where startup groups come in.
Patel values the LA startup community greatly for helping him launch ClutchPoints. He was able to use real people to test his new idea. In his case, he found it to be a resounding success. But without testing your product, you never know whether it’s going to get off the ground.
There is a major benefit to taking a lean approach to creating a start-up and definite importance behind market testing to iterate features quickly and cost-efficiently.
A Team to Share the Load
Entrepreneurs like to think they can do it all at once. Sometimes there’s nothing better than having a team by your side. The best way to compensate for your lack of skills in certain areas is to work with a skilled set of teammates who can complement you. This is what Patel discovered in co-founding Bruin Entrepreneurs.
The synergy of a group together meant Patel could bounce ideas back and forth with other like-minded individuals. Finding a team without an established community in place isn’t easy, though. The problem a lot of people have is they don’t know anyone outside of their own friend circles.
This is why immersing yourself in the entrepreneurship community both online and offline can bring so many great benefits. You could find that next partner, or at the very least, someone to share your next idea with.
Last Word – Community is Strength
Patel has embodied the power of community in all of his ventures. His latest startup ClutchPoints is all about connecting sports-savvy people socially and building a unique community to engage with sports in a way that has never been done before.
Join your local entrepreneurship community and see what they have to offer you today. It’s key to network with alumni that have ‘been there, done that’ and to connect further with professors and individuals high up in the university ecosystem. You never know who anyone knows until you ask.