Hailing from the world of education and its communities of practice, I had been dabbling with launching my own business ...
Jo, Steven and Michael had the connections, skills and resources I needed to get things done.
Through working on projects together, we identified a shared desire to serve our community and specifically to answer the need for easier access to skills, knowledge and resources needed for entrepreneurship.
We started Venture Centre in 2014 to ‘connect, empower and equip people on their enterprising journey’, with the vision of making pathways visible and accessible for entrepreneurs to ‘navigate their future’.
From that starting point we set out to explore, and do. Our first step was providing a place, Basestation coworking, a community space where entrepreneurs could find one another.
It led us to think more deeply about combining what is done with how it is done. At that point in time we knew tacitly what we each stood for from our experiences working together, but had not articulated our values and principles of practice. So, we first identified the values that had got us to that point individually, in our personal and professional lives. Then we evaluated if they would carry us where we wanted to go with Venture Centre, or if we needed to do more thinking.
The current iteration of Venture Centre [yet to be published] constitution created in 2014 states our founders’ values as c.r.i.t.i.c.a.l. (might read a bit cheesy, but it makes it easy to have them always roll of the tongue!). They are the foundation of our actions and they dictate the way we show up in the world.
Courageous – we are able to act on our beliefs in front of change, of challenges, of failure and stand up for what we believe is just and for the common good
Respectful – we welcome others and are affirming of their feelings, wishes and rights
Integral – (we have integrity) we commit to strive to do the right thing at all times and in all circumstances, whether or not anyone is watching
Team players– we take a team approach to what we do we because our own goals will always be secondary to our team’s goals
Intentional – we aim to clearly understand what we want, why we want it and how we plan on going about achieving goals
Collaborative – we embrace new ideas to come from anywhere, are open to possibilities, and invest in being mindful of always creating effective collaboration around us
Action driven – we do what we say we do, we test and measure and evaluate
Learners – we believe in always learning and in applying a growth mindset to all that we do
Taking responsibility for your own decisions and actions is hard enough, but taking responsibility for something more than yourself, for other people, for a vision, is a true challenge.
Keeping in mind and honoring the underlying values that have brought us together at all times is more than important, it is the true north of our entrepreneurial journey. We do take wrong turns sometimes, and when we do we revisit our values to course correct. As Venture Centre develops and matures within a developing and maturing entrepreneurial ecosystem, we continue to test if these values remain constant.
Today, as I write, Venture Centre is a an enterprise for social good with a mission to build an entrepreneurial community so that social learning and knowledge transfer happens more readily between us entrepreneurs, and the expert support which our community can provide. It is a mission which is underpinned by a requirement to develop a model of sustainability so Venture Centre can endure for generations to come.
Should our values evolve as we evolve? Possibly. Only time and the community will tell. For now they are front and centre in the minds of all four co-founders, and now in front of you.
How will we know if these values do indeed support the change we want to see in the world? We only know for now that by holding them as our true north they have got us this far while we have been ‘being the change’ we want to see.
Are these values common to other entrepreneurs?
Do they inspire, motivate and fulfill their vision of an entrepreneurial community of which they want to be a part?
The signals so far have been good.
So these are the values, I and we hold close, publicly now for others to comment, critique, adapt or even adopt as theirs!
This is the first time our values are presented in a public space. It is part of Venture Centre's next stage of development to be more open and transparent, as our confidence grows and our impact is being realised.
We at Venture Centre look forward to listening to what other entrepreneurs believe and use to guide their journey, to learning through the unfolding conversation about Startup Community Values, as we commit for the long haul and continue on our community building journey.
Published as part of the #startupcommunityvalues conversation - March 2017
UPDATE - #startupcommunityvalues posts:
Towards a shared operating system for values led startup communities - Dan Khan
My journey discovering my values - Lenz Gschwendtner
My quest to find my startup tribe - Jane Treadwell-Hoye
International Startup Community Values - Peter Thomson
Building the entrepreneurial community we want to live in - Dave Moskovitz
Accelerating futures.. the increasing role of startups in NZ - Colart Miles