by Jim Phillips
The young entrepreneur’s start-up was a perfect fit for Ohio’s Youngstown Business Incubator, which was located nearby and well-publicized. So why did it take an online social networking site like MySpace to bring them together?
The 24-year-old entrepreneur had grown up in Youngstown, earned his computer science degree at Youngstown State University, and then launched a software company with two buddies. And if you have a software start-up anywhere between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, boasts YBI Director Jim Cossler, “you’d be crazy not to bring it to Youngstown.”
The incubator also gets ample coverage in local print media. “We’ve been above the fold in our daily newspaper many, many times,” Cossler notes. “But this kid never heard about us until he saw us on MySpace.” After spotting YBI’s MySpace page, the entrepreneur contacted the incubator – and joined a growing number of his peers who’ve found it first through the networking site.
Web 2.0 is shorthand for a new concept of Internet use that stresses information-sharing and self-organized collaboration. It’s not an outgrowth of new technology so much as a new way to look at the Web as a shared virtual community where ideas propagate virus-fashion at lightning speed. These tools can be used to augment more traditional ways of keeping in touch with clients and supporters, though the biggest value for incubators seems to be in reaching a population that didn’t know the incubator existed.
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Keywords: client selection/admissions, marketing and promotion, networking, new technology, stakeholder relationship management
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