A couple of months ago I was riding back from a leadership conference with TAG’s Program Director and fellow entrepreneur, Casey Herrington. We were talking about the struggles and successes that we have experienced for the past years. The conversation got really deep in the emotional aspect of being an entrepreneur. After ruminating on the topic for some time, we came to the conclusion that entrepreneurs are not super humans that can do it all. Entrepreneurs need the right group of people around them and the right environment to thrive.
Self-reliant entrepreneurship is a false rhetoric that is often portrayed in the media. Entrepreneurs are people who go through the same struggles as the person next door. A 2015 study conducted by Dr. Michael Freeman of University of California San Francisco found that 72 percent of entrepreneurs reported having mental health concerns including depression, anxiety, substance abuse and bipolar disorders. Casey mentioned the idea of having a peer support group for entrepreneurs to share life experiences, build friendships and help each other thrive.
After thinking about ways of getting this idea rolling, we realized that building this type of program would take a lot of time and resources that we didn’t have, so the conversation stopped there.
I kept thinking about the word “community” for the next days. I realized that we needed to take the entrepreneurial community in Savannah to the next level. A level deeper than just business strategy or happy hour once a month, although those two are fun and important. A level of community where we are completely transparent and vulnerable about the roller coaster of our lives as entrepreneurs, builders and innovators. A safe space for us to share our struggles as individuals trying to build companies and community projects.
Weeks later, Kait Lance, community organizer with The Creative Coast, invited Casey and me to participate in a focus group to brainstorm ideas to boost entrepreneurship in Savannah and impact the local economy. It then dawned on me that The Creative Coast was the perfect organization to lead this effort of taking community to a deeper level. Casey and I proposed a new initiative, Creative Coast Circles.
Later this summer The Creative Coast will launch Creative Coast Circles, a new movement to engage entrepreneurs, creatives, builders and innovators through community. These regular small group meetings will provide opportunities to build a vibrant community, grow a trusting environment, increase entrepreneurial morale, build friendships and build businesses! Each circle will be composed of three to seven people and they will meet once a week throughout the Savannah area, including downtown, southside, the islands and local universities. I am thrilled to see this idea come to life and start seeing the beginnings of a new era of rising entrepreneurs in Savannah.
Contact The Creative Coast Community Manager, Kait Lance,at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to join a circle or how to become a host.
Andy Cabistan is a co-founder of Watson Works, the Savannah venture that is developing tools to improve communications between and among team members. He can be reached at email@example.com. The Creative Coast is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the creative and entrepreneurial community within the Savannah region. For more information, go to www.thecreativecoast.org, call 912-447-8457 or stop by 415 W. Boundary St.