6 Groups That Support Startups & Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurial ventures are essential to a thriving economy, as they stimulate financial growth and provide jobs for the community. While starting and maintaining a business is no easy task, numerous groups exist to make the process easier. The ones included here support aspiring and established business owners through all the necessary stages, from skill-building and seed-stage funding to acceleration and beyond. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

6 Organizations Helping Entrepreneurs and Startups Succeed

Organization Description
Shasta Ventures Early-stage investor that partners with entrepreneurs who are building products that change the way we work
Seedstars Funds and accelerates the most promising startups in emerging markets by connecting investors and mentors with talented entrepreneurs
Newcastle Startup Week A yearly festival promoting business innovation in North East England, it features presentations, panels, and networking opportunities
Angel Capital Association A collective of accredited angel investors, North America's most prolific early-stage investment class
Imagine H2O Helps entrepreneurs transform their technology solutions into sustainable water businesses, equipping businesses, cities, and communities with the tools for smarter water resource management
Venture For America A two-year fellowship program for recent grads, it seeks to mobilize the next generation of entrepreneurs and equip them with the skills and resources they need to create jobs

Introducing Seedstars

U.S. Small Business Statistics

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, as of 2018

  • There are 30.2 million small businesses in the United States
  • These make up 99.9% of all U.S. businesses
  • They employ 58.9 million people
  • These make up 47.5% of all U.S. employees
  • Of the 294,834 U.S. companies that exported goods in 2015, 97.6% were small firms

Books About Entrepreneurship & Business

Title Author
Measures of Success Mark Graban
Millionaire Influencer Yuli Ziv
The Introvert's Edge Matthew Pollard
The Intelligent Leader John Mattone
Asian Brand Strategy Martin Roll
The Power of Consistency Weldon Long

What is Angel Investing?

In Depth

Founding a company requires success at many stages, including developing a viable idea, securing funding, and bringing a new creation to market. Fortunately for entrepreneurs everywhere, there are a wide variety of companies and organizations dedicated to helping new ventures grow. In no particular order, here are some groups offering support for business enterprise.

Opening our list at #1 is Shasta Ventures, providing early-stage investment in companies building software for business applications. This firm has funded solutions including the personal finance app Mint, the smart thermostat Nest, and the business management platform Zuora. Success stories from Shasta include Apteligent, an app analytics program acquired by VMware, and Glint, an employee management tool bought by LinkedIn.

Shasta Ventures emphasizes its role in supporting companies within its portfolio, taking on small numbers of investments so team members can mentor a few partners at a time. The firm's Shasta Ignite platform offers benefits like executive networking and launch assistance, as well as a forum for advice on topics like marketing and fundraising. The company's blog also shares insights on venture capital and the tech industry's future.

The company's blog also shares insights on venture capital and the tech industry's future.

Our #2 is Seedstars, which seeks out, connects, and funds entrepreneurs making a difference in emerging markets. Its investment portfolio includes companies like AgroCenta, producing apps supporting smallholder farmers in Ghana; RedCapital, a Chilean small enterprise crowdfunding platform; and GiftedMom, providing maternal health solutions in Africa. Seedstars provides tools like Seedspace, a global network of hubs and resources for entrepreneurs, and several educational programs focused on startup growth.

The annual Seedstars World competition lets early-stage startups in developing markets pitch to investors from around the planet. Contestants move from local competitions to regional and global summits, with awards at each level, and numerous opportunities to connect with peers, mentors, and venture capitalists. The firm also operates Seedstars Life, a content hub featuring articles, videos, and podcasts, created for and by entrepreneurs from the developing world.

Entry #3 is Newcastle Startup Week, a yearly festival promoting business innovation in the North East of England. Each day of the event centers on a particular aspect of enterprise, such as finding inspiration, securing investment, or scaling up successfully. The festival features presentations and panels from expert speakers, as well as after-parties and other opportunities for networking.

Each day of the event centers on a particular aspect of enterprise, such as finding inspiration, securing investment, or scaling up successfully.

Along with its flagship event, the Newcastle Startup Week organization hosts monthly Founders' Friday gatherings, where local freelancers and small business owners can meet and share ideas. It also publishes a blog sharing interviews with entrepreneurs, suggestions about helpful business resources, and advice for aspiring startup creators, as well as reflections from the festival's founder Paul Lancaster.

#4 in our overview is Angel Capital Association, a collective of early-stage investors across North America. ACA enables entrepreneurs and backers to find one another, and the organization provides access to a network of fellow angels, letting members share knowledge and join investment groups. The Association also conducts research to offer useful data to members, identifying factors that lead to success.

ACA's Knowledge Center offers resources for entrepreneurs as well as investors, including a directory of members, numerous informational articles, and a Q&A tool. The group also provides educational programs, including webinars and workshops covering key topics like startup board membership or details of capitalization tables. ACA conducts public policy advocacy in support of enterprise, and organizes events from regional meetings to the annual nationwide summit.

ACA conducts public policy advocacy in support of enterprise, and organizes events from regional meetings to the annual nationwide summit.

At #5 we have Imagine H2O, an initiative nurturing innovative solutions for water access challenges around the globe. The organization offers an annual accelerator for startups addressing this issue, providing mentoring and education as well as connections with potential backers. Accelerator participants attend the annual Water Innovation Week, an opportunity to network with industry leaders and pitch to interested investors.

Imagine H2O helps develop solutions like FREDsense, a detection tool for heavy metal contamination, and Ceres Imaging, which enables efficient irrigation by farmers. The Beta Partners Program pairs startups with end users for real-world testing, and the Urban Water Challenge competition provides further visibility and funding opportunities for entrepreneurs. Imagine H2O also offers an Asia-Pacific regional accelerator, and publishes articles on innovation for sustainable water systems.

The Beta Partners Program pairs startups with end users for real-world testing, and the Urban Water Challenge competition provides further visibility and funding opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Concluding our list at #6 is Venture for America, which recruits recent college graduates for apprenticeship opportunities at existing startups, preparing participants for an entrepreneurial career. VFA offers a two-year salaried fellowship, beginning with a job search within the organization's network of startups, followed by a Training Camp to build enterprise and career skills. VFA provides its Fellows with opportunities for professional development training throughout the program.

VFA matches Fellows with opportunities in cities outside typical destinations like New York or San Francisco, aiming to stimulate growth around the country. Participants interested in founding companies receive resources including the Side-Project-a-Thon peer support program, a Validation Challenge for testing an idea's potential, and an accelerator bringing teams to launch. VFA also shares stories from program alumni, and profiles of Fellow-Founded companies.