When was the last time you played rock, paper, scissors? 5th grade maybe? I played at Startup and Play in November. And it was fun. But there was more to it than that.

Startup and Play is a quarterly event that aims to “connect young companies directly with the community at large and with each other…and help bridge the Durham-Chapel Hill-Raleigh ecoystems through a collective celebration of entrepreneurship!”

There were 13 startups with “show don’t tell” booths. I won’t list them but you can learn about them here.

What stood out to me was the mood of the event. Startup And Play‘s website says, “Our main goal is to help create a groundswell of support for consumer-facing Triangle startups.” If you were there last night — showcasing or not — you felt supported.

Halfway through the mingling and showcasing, organizer Aaron Gerry announced that we should all grab a partner and play rock, paper, scissors. If you lost, you became a cheerleader for the person who beat you. Winners went on to play other winners. I lost in my second game and became a cheerleader for the person who beat me. Then he lost and I became a cheerleader for the person who beat him. By the end, everyone was cheering for one of two people.

And by cheering I mean cheering. Chanting names, smiling, and fist pumping. You don’t see this at most business events. It was unhesitating, vocal support for local entrepreneurs, whether you knew who they were or not. It didn’t matter who won, it mattered that they felt supported.

My point? Here in the Triangle, we support our startups. And while in business, it typically matter who “wins” (if you’re successful), by supporting each other along the way we encourage innovation even when there’s risk involved. We promote connectivity and we push each other forward. So even if you “lose” (your startup fails) you walk away with new relationships and the community’s encouragement to go out and try again. All of this also draws new talented entrepreneurs to our region.

Bottom line: the Triangle startup culture brings out the best in — and attracts the best to — our community, and is a driving force behind continual growth. And you should go to the next Startup And Play.