For Joe Russo, Executive Director of the Palm Beach Tech Association, the best way to build an economy is to build a community. A thriving tech community will help entrepreneurs county wide who are still trying to figure out where to go to get help, get connected and get going. "We need to support tech companies both large and small," Russo said. "An economy isn't strong if it's built on a handful of large firms." Russo helped found Palm Beach Tech to gather entrepreneurs, ask them what problems needed solving and to solve those problems together.
Palm Beach Tech focuses on three key activities. It works with local education partners to develop the talent pool for local technology companies; it capitalizes on the area's reputation to build a county brand that will attract businesses and talent that will produce more startups; and lastly, it serves as the voice of the tech industry to government and business leaders in Palm Beach County.
Russo has been personally inspired in his work by Brad Feld's book Startup Communities. He recommends it to those who are interested in helping build their own entrepreneur communities. For entrepreneurs at work, Russo advises to always ask people what you're doing right as well as what you're doing wrong. "You don't have everything figured out at the start," he said. "Learn from others' failures and successes. Sometimes you need people to be critical in a positive way."