- StartupVT

The Entrepreneur’s Roundtable
(Not to be confused with
any type of sales event…the only thing “for sale” here is:)
Face-to-face time for entrepreneurs
to collaborate,
exchange experiences,
compare notes,
give advice and get help
Overview – What is an entrepreneur’s roundtable?
• It’s a 2 hour facilitated event for entrepreneurs from similar
businesses or with similar business issues
• Issues or topics for discussion are identified by entrepreneurs, usually
beforehand - some participants will introduce new “hot” topics to the
event itself
• It begins with a whole-group gathering for light food and mingling after the group breaks out into topic-specific sessions, ideally of 6
participants per group
a bit more…
“the bit more”…
• After breakout sessions, participants reconvene to share outcomes and
next steps, which typically include (but certainly are not limited to):
– one or more entrepreneurs continuing to meet on their own
– newly formed business collaborations
– co-founder partnerships.
• Following the event, organizers ask for feedback to help inform and
guide future decisions, activities, and events that further strengthen the
area’s startup ecosystem.
“the entrepreneur’s roundtable”
To ensure that the event meets the needs of all those attending, the
following guidelines should be honored:
• the event should be used for its intended purpose and not to market a product or
• participants should come prepared to discuss their company with candor and to
respect the sensitivities of others who are sharing
• assume that everything said about anyone or their businesses is confidential
Have fun! This is about community, collaboration, the exchange of ideas,
the health of each business and the growth of Vermont’s entrepreneurial
Plan for 2 Hours
• 30 minutes
• for entrepreneurs to sign in, mingle, eat, sign up for a topic
• for a review of guidelines and topics
• 60-90 minutes
• for breakout sessions, one topic and one facilitator per group
• for 15 minutes at the end to summarize and determine next steps
• 30 minutes
• for reconvening the whole group to share summaries and next steps
In preparation…
• Create a sign up web page
• Invite participation – see last page for suggested wording – via
email, social media, and website that links to a web sign up page
with sections for:
location (with directions), date and time
who’s invited
purpose of event
guidelines for event (refer to page 4)
gathering information about the entrepreneur’s company
listing two of the entrepreneur’s burning issues to be included as topics for the event
a bit more on
asking for permission to share contact information with other attendees
A bit more on prep…
• Arrange to have
a Facilitator for each breakout session - this should be someone with facilitation skills and
Internet access
enough space for the greater group to gather and for breakout sessions of 4-6 people each
• Supplies
Energy food – grapes, cookies, protein, coffee, bottled water
An Easel Pad, self stick or use masking tape and markers and name tags
A sign in/registration form – name, contact info (email, website/LinkedIn page, phone)
that includes asking for permission to share
“the entrepreneur’s roundtable”
“Topic” topic
• Experience has shown that there are a there are a few key topics or
issues that entrepreneurs typically identify :
– Where, how, when and to who do I go to find outside capital
– What marketing strategies do I put into place, and to whom do I market
– Who helps to guide my business/provide governance – a board of directors,
advisory board, etc.
– Should I hire employees or outsource, and other human resources issues
“the entrepreneur’s roundtable”
The Leaders Role
• Welcome
• Introductions
– Facilitators
– Participants – name, their business, their topic or issue
• Set the stage
– Restate the purpose of event
– Explain the format
– Review guidelines
• Reconvene group and facilitate sharing of next steps
• Follow up
The Breakout Group Facilitator’s Role
The facilitator’s role is to bring about a productive group process.
Keeping the guidelines front of mind, the facilitator:
remains neutral to the discussion
refocuses the group on the topic or facilitates a topic change if warranted
stimulates and encourages constructive discussion and new ideas
discourages criticism
keeps time
supports and brings out information from quieter group members
creates time at session end for next steps
Follow up
• StartupVT will survey attendees to get their feedback each meeting
• Round table hosts should feel free to design their own questionnaire or
to use StartupVT's template
• With permission granted, hosts send attendee list and contact
information to [email protected]
StartupVT’s mission is to support and strengthen
Vermont’s entrepreneurial ecosystem
by connecting entrepreneurs with their communities
and the resources they need the most.
Suggested wording for invitation
Dear Entrepreneur:
We've heard you. Startup means long hours, hard work, isolation. The entrepreneur's
roundtable event gives startups a simple tool and process...and the opportunity to connect
with each other and with the resources they need most. We are hosting one in our area. Here
are the details:
When: (date and time)
Where: (location – include directions if necessary)
Who: Any entrepreneur
What: Breakout sessions with other entrepreneurs of similar business type
or with similar businesses
If you are interested in attending, please go to (link for signup) and provide us with some basic
information about your company and two burning issues that you are currently facing.

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