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Square One DSM Client Spotlight: Elizabeth Caven


April 19, 2017

Square One DSM client Elizabeth Caven is the founder of UpCraft Club, a fast-growing online marketplace that is fundamentally changing the world-wide crafting industry through technology. She has been noticed as a stand-out startup leader by Forbes.com, TechCrunch and the Small Business Administration, which named her company first out of 2,000 InnovateHER competitors in 2016. UpCraft Club was part of Batch 16 of 500 Startups, a top San Francisco-based accelerator.

Caven is an experienced entrepreneur, having owned and successfully exited from her first company and consulted with organizations in a variety of industries over the past decade. She enjoys volunteering her time at several non-profits and spending time with her husband and four young children in Greater Des Moines (DSM).

Three Tips for Entrepreneurs

Tell Everyone

When I first started out I wanted to keep everything secretive. But I've learned along the way that it's not the best approach. Protecting your idea too much or keeping people out of the loop is just going to make things more difficult later. Let people know that you've started along your journey as an entrepreneur and you'll start off the bat with a group of people cheering you on!

Get Connected

Reach out to other entrepreneurs to start getting to know them and get plugged into the startup/entrepreneur community. This can be done by attending startup conferences, checking out a co-working space, or even just hanging out at coffee shops where founders are working. Listen to stories and advice about lessons learned from entrepreneurs running companies further along than yours. The relationships you forge at the beginning of your journey and the advice you receive along the way can be invaluable as you build your business.

Determine How You Want to Grow

Early on, it's really beneficial to determine how you want your company to grow. What is your ultimate vision? How big can your company get and how will it get there? Understanding the different types of capital available and the ramifications of each type is essential. It's also really important to think through who will need to be working with you both now and as you grow.

The beginning of a new entrepreneurial journey is exciting and I'm cheering you on! Go for it!

Connect with Elizabeth on social media:

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/elizabethcaven

Learn more about the thriving startup and entrepreneurial scene in Greater DSM on our Square One DSM page.

Mike Colwell

As executive director of entrepreneurial initiatives of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Mike Colwell leads works with startups to build their business model, financial model, marketing strategies and capitalization plan. He is also co-manager of Plains Angels, a group of Iowa-based Midwest angel investors. Mike spends his days coaching, mentoring, consulting and asking tough questions to help entrepreneurs reach their full potential. Mike assists with business strategy, business planning, business plan execution, business model development and capital acquisition strategies.