Running a startup – or any small business – can be grindingly difficult under the best of circumstances. A deadly pandemic adds an extraordinary level of complexity. Linda Wellbrock and Michael Dermer, two leaders with long histories of working with entrepreneurs, are doing what they can to make the job of running a small business easier. The pair founded the New Jersey Entrepreneur Initiative as a one-stop shop for the kinds of guidance and resources that can make the difference between success and failure for a startup. Wellbrock, who is also the founder of Leading Women Entrepreneurs and Force for Change NJ, and Dermer, the founder of The Lonely Entrepreneur, joined NJBIZ Editor Jeff Kanige to talk about their work in this edition of NJBIZ Conversations.
“One of the things that’s always struck me, especially now being in this pandemic, is that there was never one comprehensive place,” Wellbrock said. “You had to go to a university or the SBDC or a networking event. And I was so inspired by what Michael created because it really brought all the resources and tools and connections under one umbrella for something that creates a comprehensive community of like-minded people who can really lift each other up professionally to get to the next level.”
Dermer said he began working with entrepreneurs after starting and selling a health care company and he quickly realized what was missing from the existing set of resources. “As important as entrepreneurism was to our economies in New Jersey – and throughout the world, really – we said go figure it out on your own,” he explained. “They needed tools: ‘I need business plan templates and budget templates and legal agreements and I need ongoing support.’ And we do that in the form of community and coaching … to give people this kind of one place to go that they could consistently trust.”
Watch the full interview here.