E3 Durham Outreach Coordinator and Associate Director of Communications and Outreach at Knox Street Studios, Lee Gray, reflects on the growing and vibrant ecosystem in Durham, North Carolina.
"Our goal is to continue to build out this small business ecosystem and watch the spirit of this place shine through the 'special' that is the Durham community."
The role of outreach director for E3 Durham has been a gift. I get to see people’s passions and dreams manifest thanks to the resources of the program. I’ve been given a beneath the surface sense of the spirit of Durham and the growing ecosystem here. Look down any alley, side street or any market square downtown. You’ll see small gift and specialty shops, handmade goods, fresh flowers, local produce, unique services, and Triangle region sourced “Everythings”. The entrepreneurial spirit here is not only alive, it’s thriving.
I do ecosystem building work in other cities and there is just something special about Durham. It’s the attitude of the people. It’s the natural inclination to flash an authentic smile when we pass one another in the street. The kindness to carry a box for someone or the thoughtfulness to recover a toddler’s jacket, unknowingly left behind by an outnumbered and exhausted mom.
We all know kindness won’t make a business successful. So let me share that these folks in their businesses also display the grit to never give up on their dreams, support and collaborate with their peers, find new and innovative solutions to challenges and, keep showing up.
The E3 Durham program is a collective of 6 entrepreneurial support organizations that’s proud to help fortify this Durham business community. We each have our own wheelhouse of expertise so that we can provide expert customized services to participants. Our participants get individualized attention to help them get and stay on the path to success. Our goal is to continue to build out this small business ecosystem and watch the spirit of this place shine through the “special” that is the Durham community.
Funded in part through a Grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.