Only two weeks left until our final application deadline for the Class of 2013! If you’ve been thinking about applying, now is the time. We’ll have Fellows and VFA reps on campus this week to answer all of your questions. Visit our application page to start or continue your application today!
See below for details about this week’s events:
Wednesday, February 6th
NC State Engineering Fair
Come meet 2013 Fellow Steven Mazur!
The McKimmon Center
1101 Gorman Street
UMD Virtual Info Session
University of Maryland
Please check back shortly for more information.
Columbia Info Session
545 W 114th Street NYC
Thursday, February 7th
Johns Hopkins Career Fair
Learn more about VFA from 2013 Fellow Neil O’Donnell.
Johns Hopkins University
O’Connor Recreation Center
Princeton Info Session
We're thrilled to announce that Venture for America has been chosen as a finalist for The Huffington Post's JobRaising challenge! Now, we're out to raise as much money as possible and we need your help. The winner of the challenge will receive $150,000 from the Skoll Foundation – enough to help 10 VFA Fellows join and help build startup companies in cities that need them.
Fundraise for VFA: If you'd like to help VFA raise money to win the JobRaising Challenge, click here and go to "Create your Fundraiser." In seconds, you'll have your own fundraising page you can share with family and friends.
$25+: An awesome pair of Venture for America Sunglasses $100+: One of our ever-popular VFA T-shirts $250+: A General Admission Ticket to the 2013 Venture for America Summer Celebration on Thursday, May 30th in New York City $1,000+: A VIP ticket to the Venture for America Summer Celebration, which includes access to the VIP lounge where guests can mingle with prominent business luminaries
This is a great opportunity to help VFA raise money and awareness and help put Americans back to work. Please help Venture for America achieve our mission:
To revitalize American cities and communities through entrepreneurship.
To enable our best and brightest to create new opportunities for themselves and others.
To restore the culture of achievement to include value-creation, risk and reward, and the common good.
Our final deadline to join the Class of 2013 is less than one month away, and VFA representatives and Fellows will be on campus everyday this week to meet with potential applicants and answer all your questions about the fellowship.
Be sure to keep up with our blog and follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on our events!
Tuesday, January 22nd
RIT Info Session
Hosted by 2012 Fellow Rob Solomon.
Rochester Institute of Technology
Bausch & Lomb Center, Room A-190
Lehigh Info Session
Wednesday, January 23rd
Villanova Info Session
Bartley Hall, Room 1011
Villanova School of Business
Swarthmore Info Session
Parrish Hall 159
Middlebury Info Session
Hosted by 2013 Fellow Astrid Schanz-Garbassi.
McCardell Bicentennial Hall 104
Haverford Info Session
Bryn Mawr College
Campus Center Room 200
Thursday, January 24th
Duke Career Fair
Come by the Duke Career Fair to meet 2013 Fellows Shilpi Kumar and Jack Farrell and learn more about VFA.
Friday, January 25th
Columbia/Barnard Career Fair
New York, NY 10027
Tomorrow night, Venture for America will hold a launch meetup for Baltimore’s entrepreneurs, investors, and community supporters where founder Andrew Yang will talk about VFA’s story and answer questions about the program.
Venture for America looks forward to exploring expansion to Baltimore, and will hold similar events in the coming months as new 2013 cities are added. If you’re involved in Baltimore and are interested in bringing VFA to your city, RSVP now!
Thanks to everyone who attended the 2012 VFA Summer Celebration on Tuesday evening at the IAC HQ in New York City! It was a wildly successful night filled with VFA fellows, friends, and supporters, and even featured food and drinks from each of our five cities.
We heard from 2012 Fellow Derek Turner about what it’s like to be part of the inaugural class of fellows and Andrew Yang about VFA’s tremendous progress over the past year. The highlight of the evening was a speech from VFA’s 2012 honoree Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos and founder of the Downtown Project, who spoke about his plans to revitalize Downtown Las Vegas.
Watch the video below for a glimpse of what the night entailed:
Today is also your last chance to enter to win two free tickets to the event. Individuals who make ANY contribution to Venture for America by tomorrow will have the chance to win two tickets via random drawing, so donate today.
Please support Venture for America and join us for our 2012 Summer Celebration fundraiser in New York City:
Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 from 7:00-10:00 p.m. IAC HQ
555 West 18th Street, New York City
Featured Speaker: Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
General Admission: $200 in advance / $250 after May 31st
VIP: $500 for individual admission, VIP seating, and drink service.
The night will include cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and entertainment.
If you can’t join us on June 12th and would still like to support VFA, you can make a contribution to our Summer Celebration fundraising campaign. We will be giving away two tickets to an individual who makes ANY contribution to Venture for America between now and May 31st via random drawing, so donate today!
Come see Tony Hsieh speak, meet our 2012 fellows, and celebrate a successful first year for Venture for America.
It was an interesting panel, as each of us had a different perspective.We each directly touched different aspects of what makes an entrepreneurship community vibrant and successful: leadership, successful and aspiring entrepreneurs, media and resources.Over the past year or so I’ve become exposed to the start-up scenes in Detroit, New Orleans, Providence, Cincinnati, and Las Vegas, so I had some sense of how these cities’ entrepreneur networks developed.
A few themes arose from our discussion:
Leaders often emerge by accident.In many instances, a member of the community saw a problem (i.e., entrepreneurship is too inaccessible, no one’s talking about what’s being done in a particular region) and set out to solve it.By so doing, they found themselves in a leadership role and a central figure in their community, though that wasn’t the original goal.
The right community leaders prioritize others.In part because they hadn’t set out to be the focus of the community, the best leaders think about how to build something independent of their own position.Mark Davis talked about the greatest victory being that someone would come to a Columbia Venture event and not know who he was.Lining up a successor in an organization was regarded as a crucial part of building an enduring network.
Communities require lasting commitment. Mark, Marc, and Nick all commented on how communities take time and resources to coalesce.It’s not an overnight process, but instead a multi-year endeavor that requires persistence to see results.One signal of long-term commitment is a dedicated innovation hub, accelerator and/or co-working space, which appears in most any thriving start-up scene (RI-CIE and Betaspring in Providence, Cincytech and the Brandery in Cincinnati, Launchpad Ignition and Ideavillage in New Orleans, DVP and Bizdom in Detroit, etc.).
Overall, the panel was well-received. I was approached afterwards by individuals looking to build up start-up communities in Las Vegas (a VFA city), Chicago, Houston, Honolulu, Ithaca, Asheville, and other environments.The interest level is at an all-time high.
One point of contention that came up was that our panel was male-dominated, which could be said about the start-up scene in general.Shane took the heat for that, but it’s really not his fault that the numbers are the way they are.Hopefully Venture for America will be able to ease the entry of some enterprising women into start-ups and growth companies nationwide.