Friday, February 29, 2008

What is a Venture Community?

Golden Capital Network empowers Venture Communities. What is a Venture Community, and why should we care? In Venture Communities regional leaders commit to foster entrepreneurial success. Some participants are obvious: Entrepreneurs, investors and service providers. Less obvious, but equally important players include developers, workforce investment and economic development professionals, civic leaders, elected officials, retired executives … if you have a stake in your community’s economic vitality, you care about Venture Communities.

A Venture Community’s ingredients are obvious: People, ideas, capital, and resources. What’s often missing is the integration and connection of the elements; the pieces and plans may exist, but it’s a matter of piecing together and enriching the puzzle. Creative – prosperous – Venture Communities collect and connect dots. That’s where we come in.

Golden Capital Network cares about Venture Communities because we are committed to pragmatically (not theoretically) propelling economic prosperity and creating wealth in communities and regions across the U.S. When high-growth companies succeed, wealth is created and reinvested in their community. Entrepreneurs replicate, reinvent and reinvest, a virtuous cycle.

Being of value to these companies requires acute focus on providing access to seed and early-stage investment capital; generating an ongoing supply of technical, sales, marketing and management talent (and thus a vital role for workforce investment organizations); providing forums so entrepreneurs can network with their peers and learn from each other; and generating visibility for these ventures so that community members (and those outside of the region) who add value as employees, customers, suppliers, advisors, capital providers, etc., are alerted to the opportunity. In short, collecting and connecting the dots. Venture Communities uses a series of multimedia and web collaboration tools; combined with a compelling, branded event series and associated best practices; and a proprietary news engine and database- connecting process called the Innovation Business Genome that provides unparalleled value to communities wishing to support high-growth entrepreneurs.

The North State WIRED project, supported with funding through NoRTEC, provides an excellent example of a region that is being proactive today about fostering a “Venture Community”. Through this effort, regional leaders are poised to change the economic landscape of the often overlooked, underserved area of California located north of Sacramento. NoRTEC’s executive director, Charlie Brown, should be lauded for embracing the notion that innovation-based entrepreneurs, and the talented employees they need to help grow their companies, are essential components to the long-term economic health of the region. It is my hope that a cross-section of civic and business leaders across the country embrace this approach as well.