Have you ever seen a marathon race? At the halfway point, a band is playing and they’re handing out drinks to thirsty athletes. The sides of the road are packed with supporters who are cheering the athletes towards the finish line.

Should they be cheering and clapping because an athlete was able to reach the halfway point? Should they be cheering because he was able to grab a cup of water that allows him to keep going? He didn’t reach the finish yet, why would they clap?

I’m a member of the “BeTech” facebook group, an online community for Belgian entrepreneurs and startup enthusiasts. Last Saturday someone posted a link to twitter with the question “Should we clap for fundraising”?

Most of the responses seem to indicate “No”. We don’t clap for bank loans. We don’t clap for government subsidies. Why should we clap for fundraising?

But when the entrepreneur founded his company, he started his very own race. Not a sprint, but a long marathon to grow that tiny, insignificant startup into a corporate behemoth. And that fundraising is the entrepreneurs cup of water. Funding is not a goal of the entrepreneurial race. It’s not the end of the race either. It’s the milestone that gives the entrepreneur those extra resources needed to reach the next milestone.

So next time one of your local startups raises a new round of funding, do like the supporters along the marathon track. Congratulate them on the road they have already traveled. They have transformed their startup into something worth investing in. That’s something to applaud. Not every startup gets there. And cheer them on for the next leg of their entrepreneurial race. They are not at the finish line yet. They can use all the help and support they can get.

Clap on.