Professional football feeds on a reliable stream of incredibly talented, well trained players from top collegiate programs. Elite high school players jockey for scholarships, replacing graduating and drafted college talent. Football is inclusive at its lowest levels where all kids have an opportunity to participate. At each level, coaches and training staff teach the game and foster physical skills.

As an Entrepreneurial Resource Provider* (ERP) you are not Bill Belichick or even in the NFL. Entrepreneurship is not football.

There are no lower level leagues feeding your program. So, when you cherrypick the most promising companies and reject the rest without explanation, you sabotage talent development in your community.

All of us entrepreneurs are jumbled up; there is no Scouting Combine to generate reliable performance data. There are no millionaire college coaches in startup-land. No youth flag football programs run by doting parents.

The lion’s share of your work as an ERP must be on the most promising cohort of companies you can recruit. (That’s how you told your financial backers you’d spend their money.) But, you ignore those who do not make today’s team at your peril. If you don’t offer them a hand up, the “game” will lose talented prospects forever. Your community will suffer.

As an ERP, responsibility for talent development is in your hands. Less promising entrepreneurs need help identifying which fundamental aspects of their game are lacking. They will have to put in the hard work to improve, but without guidance from you, they don’t know if they should study film or hit the weight room.

What are you doing to support the companies that aren’t ready for the big leagues in your community?

* ERPs are organizations including accelerators, venture capital funds, SBDCs, government grant-awarding agencies, angel investment clubs, and co-working facilities.

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