Tiffanie Stanard wants to talk.
The founder of Stimulus, a startup aimed at making it easier for small-to medium-sized organizations to find sponsorships and funding, plans to spark a six-city virtual conversation on May 15th as part of her efforts to spur leaders in the startup and small-business space across the U.S. to share experiences and opportunities.
The discussion, to be held at the new Microsoft Reactor where Stimulus is the startup in residence, will connect entrepreneur community organizers based in Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. during simultaneous events that focus on how tech can be used to link cities together.
Stanard said she wants to facilitate a cross-country discussion about how organizations and businesses – especially minority- or women-owned ones – can access resources; expand to other cities that may have far different rules and regulations from their own; and learn from each others’ successes and failures.
At least two of the organizations participating in the upcoming #Connect2Resources event are planning their own expansion into Philadelphia, including Boston’s Venture Cafe Global Institute in Boston and Her Corner, a D.C.-based accelerator for women-owned small businesses.
The event — done in partnership with Microsoft, AT&T and Score — is part of a bi-monthly series that Stanard designed to help small to medium-sized businesses, non-profits or startups build new relationships with large corporations seeking to work with a more diverse set of organizations.
After starting in Philadelphia during a January event at the Reactor, Stimulus is organizing soft launches of the #Connect2Resources series in Boston, New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Seattle this year.
“It allows you to meet people who have obtained a resource such as a grant, or a women or minority-owned contract, find out what [a company] is looking for in the next quarter or by the end of the year, or connect with other businesses to find out how they got through a grant process," Stanard said.
Her goal is to take the randomness out of securing those key connections and the resources that come with an expanding network.
Events like #Connect2Resources — as well as the intelligent search engine and marketplace-like platform that Stimulus has developed, which is currently in the prototype and data-gathering stage – are crucial for entrepreneurs and leaders who may not have the personal, often-built-in connections that are needed to raise funding or land key partnerships by leveling the playing field, Stanard said.
“I think about when I was always looking for resource for events. You get excited when you come up with a business or program or non-profit, but you lose your excitement when you realize you don’t know somebody or don’t know how to get money and office space or connect with a company like AT&T,” Stanard said. “It’s important to know what’s available to you. There’s so much information out there, and that’s a pro and a con. If people knew how to simplify that information, they will start and finish things, and not just start.”