I had the opportunity to connect with Claude Jones, founder of the San Diego Tech Hub, one of the fastest growing technology communities in the region. I’ve been a member of the community and have supported the initiative as the mission resonates quite well with my ideals.
In words of Claude himself: “We are constantly looking for ways to provide resources and help bootstrap entrepreneurs”.
Claude started the group about a year and a half ago and has been getting a lot of followers and support from the SD tech community. So I thought it would be a good idea to get his perspectives on what the entrepreneur community should be aware of now that covid-19 is changing the way technology professionals conduct ourselves as individuals and collectively.
FR: What are the challenges for the San Diego Tech Hub community during the health emergency?
CJ: To find what are the things that are relevant to people that are being hurt the most. People losing their jobs, small businesses not having the resources to self sustain, people have to reimagine how to stay with the community. Is it challenging? Yes, this is something that has hit hard. We have to adapt relatively quickly. How to engage with people, when their minds are set on just to live.
FR: What are your recommendations for entrepreneurs and businesses in general?
CJ: I think we all are aware of the CARES act signed back in march, a relief funding of about 3 trillion dollars. I’m not an expert but I know the SPA has the full information. I encourage people to check the website.
Aside from that, SDTH is providing programs specifically to startups and small businesses. Just hoping for them to understand what is the difference between a small business versus a start up. Sharing information about how to navigate through these times.
A Personal note for the entrepreneurial community. We all hit hard times, it comes, we have to have that hustle spirit do not give up. First, continue to keep your network strong, this is a time when you're staying at home, you'll start tapping into certain resources, and people that you haven’t connected with in the past. Use this time to focus on building your network. You never know what might happen after all this ends.
Second, take the time to innovate and imagine. Here's a story, you have parents that have to be working from home, but they need to take care of their kids, be a teacher, all at the same time. How can you work professionally? The problem is there's no one there out there helping you. A business idea surged on creating a virtual assistant to make children and students to hold them accountable to their schedule.
This is just a simple example, but I think now is the time for startups to truly understand the actual landscape that we are in and how to reinvent themselves as a company, and to use your network and hustle up to get out of this thing.
FR: What are some positive activities or examples you've seen in the San Diego Tech Hub community recently, that you can share?
CJ: Some of the positive activities, at least in the SDTH community, or across any other community, is the idea of people coming together, the brainstorming of what we can do and give, those who can, for those individuals that don't have things. Perfect examples of this are the people losing their jobs, not much information out there about covid 19, etc.
Just in a hope of helping people, we created https://wearesandiego.org, it was a passionate project that we were able to stand up in 3 days, and it is simply a site that allows anybody to come if they want to volunteer, offer discounts, special deals, etc. If there's people that have needs, post your needs there, If there's resources that the community is not aware of, that is the place to share it. This is just one example of people coming together and creating community.
FR: What's San Diego Tech Hub’s plan to support the startup ecosystem?
CJ: With SDTH in general, we have 100% virtual sessions, a lot of the speakers that are planned are helping us transform in person sessions to virtual sessions. That has been very inspiring and helpful. Seeing people that want to continue educating during this time, willing to transform their sessions toward this goal.
We have a lot of volunteers working together thinking about what are the best topic for the future San diego Tech Hub sessions in order to add the most value to our community.
FR: I know it's still early to make assessments, but as of now what do you envision for San Diego Tech Hub for the remainder of 2020?
CJ: When I think back on the goal, or our mission. It's about building and making personal connections and building authentic relationships. As long as we are able to achieve those 2 things. That’s a success. But, how do we go about achieving that? It is definitely a challenge. How do we create personal connections and still build authentic relations in a 100% virtual environment? We have a few ideas that are cooking that we will share in the upcoming months.
For the rest of the year, we’ll continue having our monthly meetings, we want to make sure we are adding value to social changemakers, entrepreneurs and professionals.
FR: How can the tech community support San Diego Tech Hub right now?
CJ: This is the thing that I would love to see. We created https://wearesandiego.org, I would just encourage people to go to the site and if you want to volunteer, or offer resources put it there.
And with that final note I conclude my interview with San Diego Tech Hub, feel free to say hi at the next (virtual) event and please do spread the word, unprecedented times call for unification and communities are an excellent conduit for it all.
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