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Joining a Support Group, Part I

With a spiraling economy and, for some, rough waters ahead, Starve-Ups and organizations like it help young entrepreneurs muddle through <I>and</I> prosper.

By Nichole L. Torres

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Starting up is never easy-and keeping your businessthriving is even harder. But when you've got a support systemin place, your entrepreneurial journey can be a bit easier. Atleast that's what the 13 member companies of Starve Ups believe.A nonprofit Portland, Oregon-based organization formed in late 2000to be a support and networking group, Starve Ups provides a forumfor young entrepreneurs to share ideas and get solutions to commonproblems.

In this, the first of a two-part series, we caught up with threemembers to hear their take on the current state ofentrepreneurship, how they're getting through the economicdownturn and how Starve Ups is helping them through it all. Thepanelists: Leif Youngberg, 35, co-founder of,an enhanced e-mail services provider; Mark Hutchinson, 32, founderof VisionSite, a Web portal for eye-care information anda directory of eye-care professionals; and Ryan Buchanan, 26,founder of GCmaterials, an e-services provider for constructioncompanies and subcontractors. Here are their stories.

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