Message from Nick Tietz, Founder & CEO of ILT Studios

Message from Nick Tietz, Founder & CEO of ILT Studios

Message from Nick Tietz, Founder & CEO of ILT Studios 1444 511 ILT Innovation Lab

Message from Nick Tietz, Founder & CEO of ILT Studios – Startup Entrepreneurship Is a Skill and a Community

One of GSDC’s four strategic imperatives is “Shape Tomorrow”. Our primary strategies to do so include influencing and articulating the community narrative, marketing the region, and advancing its quality of life. We want to amplify the life, work, and ideas of leaders across our community.

Startup Entrepreneurship Is a Skill and a Community

When we hear about startups in the news, it is often in the context of a billion-dollar IPO (initial public offering) or billion-dollar acquisition. However, at its core, startup entrepreneurship is not about money; startup entrepreneurship is a skill and a community (the billion-dollar exits are an interesting by-product).

Startup entrepreneurship is a skill. 

People think the skill is problem-solving. However, it is more problem finding. What are the “interesting” problems that need solving? An “interesting” problem can be a problem that people are willing to “throw money at” to solve.

When startup entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley go looking for problems, then often find problems that 20-something startup entrepreneurs have. For example, look at Yoshi (the Uber of gas stations — or WeFuel (no longer in business). That might be an “interesting” problem for 20-something urban dwellers — not so much for the rest of the country. The startup skill itself is useful, especially if one aims the skill to the right populations.

Startup entrepreneurship is a community. 

The other, often not talked about aspect of startup entrepreneurship, is that it is a community. The myth of a lone, genius innovator is just that — a myth. It takes iterations upon iterations for any idea to be a great idea. And for iterations to occur faster, there needs to be a community of practitioners.

What’s also interesting about a community of startup entrepreneurs is that they start using the same language, the same jargon, and the same practices. Despite working on different problems, they are practicing the same skills in their own businesses. That’s the secret of a startup community.

Most startups will fail. That is a statistical certainty. However, in a community of startup entrepreneurs, when one startup succeeds, that startup will need more people with startup skills. They will need a community of startup entrepreneurs who might have failed but have the needed skills.

What does this mean for St. Cloud? 

ILT Academy joined the GSDC investor group to better connect, engage, and help build up the community of startup entrepreneurs right here in Greater St. Cloud. We have soon-to-be-entrepreneurs here who (with a little help) can turn local problems into opportunities into startups. As we build this startup community, we only need a few small successes to start. But pretty soon, those small companies will be a part of a healthy and sustainable startup community here in St. Cloud.

How can you join the movement?

In collaboration with LaunchMN, GSDC, and other partners across West Central MN, we are now offering FREE virtual classes for those who see problems and opportunities in their communities and want to begin their startup journey.

The 20-Week program starts on January 5, 2021. Applications are due December 16, 2020.

For more information, go to

Article originally posted in Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation’s email on December 1, 2020. Read the full newsletter here.

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