Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), a global business network of more than 14,000 entrepreneurs representing more than 190 chapters in 60 countries, launched a Charleston chapter earlier this year after three local businessmen attended EO’s global leadership conference in Toronto, Canada to begin the chapter development process. Now an official chapter with 16 members, EO Charleston has begun exploring ways to enhance and grow the Lowcountry entrepreneurial community. The chapter’s first move was to create a formal relationship with The Harbor Entrepreneur Center, modeling it after the highly successful partnership between EO Nashville and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.
“As our chapter began to take shape, we knew that creating partnerships within our community was imperative,” said Haig Berberian, EO Charleston’s president. “While EO has a $1 million threshold for bringing on new members, like The Harbor Center, we too want to support the entire entrepreneur community, regardless of size. We very much see the value of a rising tide mentality when it comes to building a true entrepreneurial-focused community.”
Berberian and Patrick Bryant, The Harbor Center’s co-founder, met for several weeks discussing ways the organizations could work together. The two brainstormed mentoring opportunities, joint member benefits, networking ideas and more. After several discussions, both agreed that it would be mutually beneficial for each organization to have reciprocal board representation. Board members of EO Charleston and The Harbor Center voted in June to ratify a partnership between the two organizations.
Created in 2013, The Harbor Entrepreneur Center is a local nonprofit focused on the economic vitality of the region by supporting entrepreneurs at any stage of their business.
EO was originally founded in 1987 by a group of young entrepreneurs to create a community of peer-to-peer support for business owners. Since that time, the organization has grown to become the world’s most influential group of entrepreneurs.
Both EO and The Harbor Center enable business owners to learn from each other through events, leadership-development programs and private forum groups.
“Our mission is all about collision throughout the entrepreneurial community,” said Bryant. “By creating a partnership with EO, we are doing just that. We are opening up doors between highly successful business owners and individuals who are just starting out and everything in between.”
“Any person who has been in business for a while knows that growth in business is all about opening doors. We are excited about this relationship and look forward to seeing where it takes our collective entrepreneur community. We now have a path for the startup business all the way to the $1 million-plus business and that’s pretty cool.”