Hot New Perk: Startup Help

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"Entrepreneurism is the new black," concludes online job site Elance, based on a survey of 250 startups. The survey was done as part of the company's launch of Startup Cloud, an onramp resource that provides best practices and online advice to startups.


Interestingly enough, in the intense talent wars for engineers, the hottest new perk is training and mentoring in opening their own business, reports The New York Times. Beyond free food, free iPads, grandiose views from the office and the ability to bring their dogs to work, more than anything else, new hires want help learning how to venture out on their own.


It says online real estate brokerage Redfin sets up meetings between recruits and venture capitalists on its board to talk about starting their own companies and runs twice-monthly classes on entrepreneurship.


Mobile payment site Square offers 20-minute lessons on topics such as how to raise venture capital and allows every employee access to its product plans and financials to help them learn about building a business.


Says Glenn Kelman, Redfin's chief executive:

It helps people stay, but also helps them to go.

More people started new businesses in 2010 than at any time in the past 15 years, reports The Kauffman Foundation, which is devoted to entrepreneurship. However, it also notes that with the low job growth of recent years, many of these people did so because they had no other options.


In the Elance survey, 92 percent of respondents were optimistic about small business growth in 2011. Speaking about how cloud-based services and hiring benefit startups, Ellen Pack, vice president of marketing at Elance, said:

Entrepreneurs are no longer limited by geography, expensive software, office space or by having to make large-scale investments in overhead just to get a prototype or service out to market.

I've written that physical location continues to fade as a factor in hiring and also about some tips for hiring remote workers.


Other findings:


  • Online hiring topped the list of cloud services the startups consider important. Others mentioned were Web services, file storage, online application suites, and accounting and finance.
  • The startups favored online hiring for its cost effectiveness, flexibility and better candidate information.
  • They said online sites help them find key skills. They listed these as their most in-demand skills: Web programmers, marketing strategy experts, graphic designers, online marketers and writers.


In conjunction with its new service, Elance will also be giving away three "startup kits," $500 in Elance services, to help new businesses get started in hiring.