Our Network Partners share our passion for driving the success of software startups through mentoring, networking, business advice, financial assistance, and peer connections. Network Partners know the startup environment and understand what it takes to succeed.
The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) is a membership-based,
non-profit training organization that focuses on growing technology companies
in the Illinois region of the United States. More than 700 member companies
and a network of 50,000 individuals are involved in the organization. President
Fred Hoch spent some time with us recently to talk about what ITA does and
how BizSpark helps its members.
What differentiates ITA from other organizations?
Hoch: We are very consultative with our members. They
see us as an extension of their business and we see ourselves as employees
of our member companies. We do all we can to stimulate growth for them.
ITA focuses on three pillars designed to grow technology companies: development,
talent and visibility. We offer a wide variety of events, personalized attention,
connections and publications – all specifically designed around those pillars.
One of our key differentiators is our network of established executives.
They help drive mutual success and are critical to supporting Startups as
they launch their businesses.
How do you work with Startups?
Hoch: We bring growth-stage industry companies together,
leveraging the connections and experiences of the community to increase
the overall success rate of the local industry. We also provide the tools
our members need to address the strategic and operational aspects of their
Companies become members by
joining the association through our web site. The type of membership
depends upon the applicant’s qualifications. About 35 percent of our members
Why do some Startups succeed and others fail?
Hoch: I think Startups that fail miss the mark in two
key success factor areas. First, they don’t always have a strong understanding
of how they are going to make money with their idea. You can’t just build
a product without understanding exactly who will pay for it. Second, companies
with clear focus do best. Focus on what you’re trying to sell and don’t
get distracted. Luck is also part of it, of course, but vision, a sense
of purpose and dedication to your long-term goal is critical.
What interested you in the BizSpark program?
Hoch: We got involved because Microsoft has been great
partner for us and we wanted to help channel BizSpark to Startups. It really
gives new companies a leg up on the competition. They obtain access to resources,
technologies and networks they wouldn’t necessarily have.
Why is it important for technology companies to build on multiple platforms?
Hoch: Technology companies once developed only for the
PC but today they must develop for all channels. Users want to be able to
access a product across every channel – PC, smart phone, the cloud, etc.
If a Startup is not thinking about all these things, it just won’t succeed.
No one needs to do it all at once but every business must be thinking about
every channel for long-term success.
For more information about the Illinois Technology Association, contact
Fred at firstname.lastname@example.org.