#VCThoughts | The Pulse of Our Community
By Ashley Jones
Managing Director Community Programs
As an Entrepreneurial Support Organization, The Venture Center has the unique opportunity of understanding the needs of business leaders, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders that make up our community. And our entrepreneurial ecosystem is very much alive, despite the current circumstances. Our mission requires us to monitor the pulse of this community so we always have an understanding of its current needs. It’s through this continual pulse check that we foster real relationships, gain valuable insight to deliver top-notch programs, and connect participants in our community with each other through the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial journey.
In good and bad times, fostering real relationships allows us a real-time understanding of our community’s needs. Without this critical first step, we can’t help. Understanding their needs begins with listening, which creates a space for feedback and trust. Listening, building rapport, and following up are essential to building that trust. The Venture Center serves several key stakeholders, including entrepreneurs, business leaders, investors, people with ideas, and the list goes on, and we take pride in having real relationships with them. With established relationships in place, we gain a clearer picture of their needs and can identify ways to help move them closer to their goal.
Once we have relevant goals in place, we move on to developing relevant and impactful programs to help entrepreneurs reach their goals. Many needs are evident, for example, help with sales, marketing, legal issues, funding, and growth. Other crucial areas we address include self-care and mental health, how to deal with juggling expectations, and inspiring and motivating others who are starting and growing businesses. Through our community programs, we diversify our offerings to cater to entrepreneurs in all stages of their journeys. Those with an idea can benefit from having an Origin Session, where we walk through the Lean Canvas, discuss customer discovery, and provide valuable resources.
Those looking to grow their business might benefit from our Spark! Pre-Accelerator or pitching their company at our bi-annual pitch competition, Pitch ‘N Pint. The feedback on these programs from our community is invaluable, with the ultimate objective being to create programs to help them grow the business, draw inspiration from connections, and hopefully, learn something new.
Connecting participants in our community with each other is a natural byproduct of keeping a pulse on our community. The more we interact with someone and learn about their entrepreneurial journey, the more information we have to use in discerning who they should meet with next. The benefit of fostering real relationships is that as you create more of those genuine connections, you have more and more people to introduce! Again, it’s about creating a connection, not just being a directory.
Keeping a pulse on our community is critical to the success of The Venture Center. Fostering real relationships, delivering top-notch programs and connecting our community with each other drives our efforts and contributes to the success of our entrepreneurs. Those successful entrepreneurs then grow their companies. Those companies attract more talent. A talented and productive workforce drives our economy. The brave entrepreneurs who took a chance and started a business experience the joy of success and we love cheering them on. And THAT is how The Venture Center is changing the world, one pulse check at a time.