Silicon Prairie News

Chapman gives keynote on Omaha’s entrepreneurial ecosystem (Video)

Cedar Rapids July 27, 2011 by Michael Stacy

Video from GazetteOnline on Ustream

In case you couldn’t catch it in person or live via the Ustream feed, here, again, is Tom Chapman's keynote address from the Cowtown to Boomtown event held July 13 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Chapman, the director of entrepreneurship and innovation for the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, discussed Omaha's transformation from a meatpacking center to a city drawing national and international recognition as an up-and-coming startup hub.

Following remarks from event organizers Andy Stoll and Amanda Styron of SeedHere and an introduction of Chapman by John Schnipkoweit of Ovation Networks, Chapman delivered a talk on building the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Omaha by understanding the ecosystem’s strengths, non-strengths and weaknesses, taking policy action to support the ecosystem's health, building better startup teams and connecting people. The bulk of Chapman's talk was based on his paper, "Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: Lessons from Omaha" which we published earlier this month and included below.

But Chapman opened his presentation with a personal story of his fight with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, or Walter Payton's Disease. Chapman was diagnosed 11 years ago, and, he says, the disease "should've killed me already."

A diagnosis like that, Chapman said, "really focuses the conversation on what’s really important.” And for Chapman, who had his first child soon after his diagnosis and now is a father of six, what was most important — and what fuels his drive to build the ecosystem today — is ensuring his children have a good environment in which to grow up. "I do it because I believe in it," Chapman said. "I believe that having a great place to live is really important for my kids.” Check out the rest of Chapman's story, in his own words, in the video above.

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