In March 2014 more than 35 community and business leaders gathered for a strategic visioning session that ultimately culminated in my joining GSI as Entrepreneurship Program Director at the beginning of this month. The position was identified as a critical component for the Spokane region to help bolster and support entrepreneurship and sustainable economic growth.
Connecting, collaborating and creating are all crucial parts of development and they can’t be done in a vacuum. Whether you’re interested in talking about startup business resources, mentorship or using workspace at Share Space Spokane, I’d love to hear from you! Shoot me an email or give me a call at 509.321.3626.
Conceptualizing, developing and building my energy management company, Sightline Energy, taught me a tremendous amount about the entrepreneurial process, and it helped me realize one very important thing about myself: Entrepreneurship is my passion!
Before joining GSI I worked with the Coeur d’Alene business community to help promote and grow their entrepreneurial resources. In 2013 I cofounded Innovation Collective, which was developed specifically to help connect and inspire local entrepreneurs to build and grow their companies.
Innovation Collective as an organization worked with the entrepreneurship community by helping to bridge resources, host community events, and manage a coworking space for local startups companies. In 2014, Innovation Collective was geared to host over 50 entrepreneurship-focused events in the Coeur d’Alene region, including the full-day Think Big Festival, with a lineup of guest speakers focusing on robotics and innovation.
My hands-on experience and passion for supporting and assisting local entrepreneurs traveled with me across the state line and I look forward to being a full-time champion for the Spokane region’s entrepreneurship community. One of my main objectives is to be a gateway for new startups and entrepreneurs, helping to connect them to the regional programs, mentors, and services which often act more as a maze more than a pathway for those looking for assistance.
The entrepreneurship program I’ll oversee will have five community focuses, which include to:
- Act as a regional hub for entrepreneurs and startups, connecting them to regional resources.
- Facilitate and encourage an open and engaged culture in Spokane’s startup community.
- Build a network of mentors and thought leaders for entrepreneurs to utilize.
- Engage entrepreneurship and STEM educational opportunities in K-12 and higher education.
- Create vibrant activities that encourage regional innovation and entrepreneurship.
Additionally I’ll be looking to streamline and merge together some of the entrepreneurship program assets under my charge, including StartupSpokane, LaunchpadINW, and the coworking facility, Share Space Spokane.
There is much to be done. Let’s get to it!
Ryan Arnold | GSI Entrepreneurship Program Director