Many clients ask us how they can connect to mentors, potential employees, and other staffing resources in anticipation of upcoming projects. We usually point them in the direction of their local research hub or entrepreneurial network. In many scenarios, especially in a post-pandemic world, remote work means founders are meeting and networking with fewer local acquaintances. This poses a problem when these founders need to find an advisor, engineer, or another employee to hire for a grant project. As our clients are located all over the world, it would be difficult for us to keep a contact list of relevant advisors and employees that was applicable to all clients. This is where research hubs come in. These venues, in-person or virtual, allow founders to collaborate and network with like-minded local founders.
What are research hubs?
One way to connect with local resources and like-minded individuals or other founders in your industry is to join a research hub, coworking space, or founders program. Research hubs and similar programs are located throughout the world. Most feature events, education, or networking opportunities. Many research hubs offer the use of shared equipment such as conference rooms, scientific research equipment, computers, and access to industry experts or mentors who offer open office hours to help founders be successful. With so many resources in one place, founders are sure to receive additional support from these programs.
Finding a hub
There are two ways to find a relevant venue in your area or industry. Start by searching locally to see if there are any research hubs in nearby metropolitan areas. If you are in a rural area, this may be more challenging. The second option is to search by industry. Some hubs focus on a particular industry, such as technology, healthcare, or social impact. Some are virtual or have a virtual component, which enables collaborations between founders many miles away or allows founders in remote locations to participate in research hub activities.
Some organizations are free to join, while others require a membership. Many are based out of local universities, community colleges, or workforce development centers. Startup accelerators or incubators also often act as research hubs and provide startups with a lifetime of networking and mentorship even after graduation.
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