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Jeff Harbach Jeffrey Harbach

Video: Need a Network? Be Bold.

Entrepreneur LogoThe following story was a guest column by Kauffman Fellows CEO Jeff Harbach in Entrepreneur.

The tools are there for you to reach those who can help build your dream.


When you start a company, there is no shortage of people willing to give you startup advice. The challenge is finding the most relevant and experienced folks to listen to.

But, too often entrepreneurs think small when it is time to reach out for guidance or inspiration. Limiting your contacts to those you can touch—a friend, someone the next town over or even in the same region—is a huge mistake.

It might feel a bit awkward to reach out across the country or even the globe for an introduction, but as Gregg Horowitt, the co-founder of T2 Venture Creation, says, “Entrepreneurship favors the bold.”

Today, it is all about expertly managing the social tools at your disposal. It is not just the person you know, but the person that person knows who can make the all the difference. And they may be running a business in a place you never heard of.

Especially as the next wave of innovation takes hold, expertise will not be relegated to a single area such as Silicon Valley.

Building a network is not for the timid. As Horowitt says, it is a full-contact sport. Have the courage to reach out beyond your comfort zone for advice. Most people are happy to help an entrepreneur looking to do something new in an industry. And they will enjoy being asked.


Jeff HarbachJeff Harbach (Class 16) is President and CEO of Kauffman Fellows. Jeff has been an entrepreneur and investor since 2002, and was Executive Director of the Central Texas Angel Network (CTAN), based out of Austin, TX, from 2011–2013, where he served his fellowship. He has led multiple startups, including two 7-Eleven stores, a luxury furniture store and interior design firm, and a private country club golf network. He was also an angel investor himself with the Vegas Valley Angels. Jeff holds a BS from Brigham Young University and an MBA from the University of Texas, Austin. jharbach@kfp.org