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3 Ways To Use Collaboration To Make A Bigger Impact

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There’s an old adage that says “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I can personally attest in my business, that collaboration has been one of the single biggest drivers of growth I’ve encountered. Sarah Hernholm, the founder of WIT – Whatever It Takes, an organization that helps young people launch businesses and live with an entrepreneurial mindset–agrees. Not only does she use partnerships and collaboration in her own program, but also teaches her entrepreneurial students the value of collaboration and how to build relationships.

Any entrepreneur worth their salt, understands and utilizes collaboration as a way to create bigger impact and accelerate growth. Hernholm gave me her top three collaboration tips for when you want to branch out and bring on partners.


Make the time to learn about the organizations or people who are doing what you want to do. They might even being doing it better and you can pitch ways that you could collaborate to make even greater impact. “WIT used to host in-person pitch competitions and putting on these events took a lot of work and time. I decided to put together an ‘ask’ to one of best student pitch competitions in the country – SXSW EDU Student Startup Competition,” says Hernholm. “The pitch included the ways WIT could help expand the reach of the competition and ways WIT could take on some of the workload. The result? SXSW EDU Student Startup Competition powered by WIT is happening in Austin, TX March 2022! The biggest winners in this collaboration? Teen entrepreneurs. Everyone involved in the collaboration wins – and that’s the key. It’s why research is so important. You must know what will be a win for everyone involved.”

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Show Them The Money 

Find the financial win-win. When building a financial partnership Hernholm believes it’s essential to show how the money will impact the organization or company. “It’s not enough to say you’re making an impact,” notes Hernholm. “Instead, lay out the plan and tie the investment or donation to data. In the case of WIT, one of the foundations tI work with, Do or Dier Foundation, is committed to providing youth, in underrepresented communities, tools and support to help them bring their ideas to life. Since WIT works directly with youth in those communities, and also shares a similar mission of giving tools and access to young entrepreneurs, it made sense to create a partnership.” The foundation’s financial support of WIT goes directly to enrolling more students in the entrepreneurial programs. As a result, Do or Dier Foundation lives out their mission and WIT has the funding to support the students. 

Play The Long Game 

Most people get hit-up with asks that focus on the “get” instead of the “give.” Hernholm is often reminding WIT students that no one wants to work with people who make things feel transactional. “Of course there is a time and place for quick asks, but that is usually appropriate once a relationship has been established,” reminds Hernholm. She shared that a great example of this is the work she does with Diamond Challenge (DC). “Most people would consider WIT and Diamond Challenge organizations to be in competition with one another, but I don’t. Why? Because DC is one of the few organizations that reach out with innovative and impactful ways to collaborate. It’s clear it is not just about what they can get from working with WIT, but instead about how if we work together we can impact more youth. With that shared goal, we both know we can have a long relationship with lasting impact.”

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