Employment, Job Related

Venture Cafe Foundation Inc.

Innovation Is For Everyone

aka Roxbury Innovation Center   |   Cambridge, MA   |  http://venturecafenewengland.org

Mission

Venture Café New England's vision is that every person with an idea can feel empowered to become a successful entrepreneur. We believe in inclusive innovation. Our mission is to connect entrepreneurs and innovators with the resources they need to launch and grow successful businesses. Venture Café New England convenes the innovation community, and accelerates the innovation process through spaces, programs, and conversations for individuals and organizations to gather and build relationships.

Ruling year info

2014

Principal Officer

Mr. Daniel Enriquez Vidaña

Main address

1 Broadway, Floor 14

Cambridge, MA 02142 USA

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EIN

45-5191933

Cause area (NTEE code) info

Employment Training (J22)

Leadership Development (W70)

Management & Technical Assistance (O02)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Venture Café Foundation (now Venture Cafe New England) was an experiment born out of the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) in 2009. CIC realized that it effectively supported companies who had some capital and a solid plan. Money and a plan are important steps in the entrepreneurial process, but in reality they are more like Step 2 or Step 3. What was missing were Step 0 and Step 1 – honing ideas, raising money, mentorship, connection to deep knowledge, and collaboration opportunities. Together, these are the foundation in a thriving innovation ecosystem. Most importantly, they are fluid enough to be deployed and redeployed over and over again to provide the right level of support at the right moment, to the right ideas, to the right people. This is the gap Venture Café fills. Venture Cafe was spun out as a separately-operated nonprofit organization in 2012 and is now part of a global network of 11 Venture Cafes in four continents

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Venture Cafe Cambridge

Venture Café Cambridge is a weekly gathering for the innovation community held on Thursday afternoons/ evenings at CIC Cambridge (One Broadway). VCC connects and supports the innovation ecosystem to envision new ideas, attend educational presentations, share knowledge, and access resources to start and grow businesses. Around 50% of attendees are founders or work in startups; 31% are women, and 40% are Black, Latinx or Asian. With attendance of over 400+ people each week, Venture Cafe Cambridge is the largest weekly gathering of its kind in New England. Since March 2020 Venture Café Cambridge has run all programs virtually.

Population(s) Served
Adults

District Hall is the world's Cirst civic innovation center, in Boston's Innovation District: a dedicated space for the innovation community to gather and exchange ideas. The building has open workspace, meeting and assembly space, flexible use 'pods', and writable surfaces everywhere, as well as a full restaurant and coffee shop. District Hall has hosted 800+ events in 2015, and also provides free and reduced cost meeting space for events which support innovation.

Population(s) Served
Adults

An urban experiment to utilize innovation and entrepreneurship to drive local economic development in the Roxbury / Dudley Square neighborhood of the City of Boston.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Founded in 2019 in partnership with the City of Providence and the state of Rhode Island, Venture Cafe Providence and District Hall Providence convene and connect the innovation community through in-person and virtual networking and programming multiple times a week, including the weekly Thursday Gathering,

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

Innovation is a process to improve the human condition. Venture Cafe help people interested in becoming entrepreneurs to be more effective in starting businesses and accelerating their business growth in a strong and sustainable way. Startups and small businesses create more jobs in the economy than large companies. We see entrepreneurship skills as key to developing healthy communities and economies. We believe that innovation is everywhere, and everyone has the potential to be an entrepreneur, and seek to broaden and diversify the innovation economy through open, inclusive networking, programming, and mentoring at multiple locations in Greater Boston. Venture Cafe Cambridge connects innovators, entrepreneurs, industry experts, investors and innovative companies with each other to support innovation and economic growth. District Hall Boston is a meeting place for the innovation community in Boston's Seaport District. Roxbury Innovation Center supports small business-led growth in Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan. Venture Cafe Providence and District Hall Providence connect, support, and grow the innovation ecosystem in Providence and Rhode Island.

Venture Café Foundation enhances and accelerates innovation through spaces, programs, and conversations for individuals and organizations to network, share knowledge, and learn, including: Venture Cafe Cambridge is a weekly networking and mentoring program taking place weekly on Thursdays at One Broadway. The program is currently virtual at https://venturecafecambridge.org VCC connects innovators, entrepreneurs, industry experts, investors and innovative companies with each other to support innovation and economic growth. District Hall Boston location is a virtual and physical networking and knowledge-sharing hub for the innovation community in Boston's Seaport District. Roxbury Innovation Center is an urban innovation center to drive economic development in the Roxbury and Nubian Square neighborhoods Venture Cafe Providence and District Hall Providence are partnerships with the City of Providence and State of Rhode Island to grow the innovation ecosystem and business-led development .

Venture Cafe has over ten years of experience in connecting the innovation economy in New England. Our experienced and entrepreneurial staff is well-tuned to the needs of entrepreneurs, the resources provided by many parties around Greater Boston and Greater Providence, and how to connect them. As the success of our different locations shows, we are skilled in tailoring our programming and offerings at different locations to the needs of the surrounding communities. We work with hundreds of programming partners to execute the courses, workshops, clinics and gatherings to help company founders. We survey program attendees regularly and use attendance and other internal metrics to monitor and evaluate our impact.

Venture Cafe New England uses both quantitative and qualitative metrics to measure our progress and impact. For example: * District Hall: hosted more than 1,000 events in 2019, with 90K people participating * Roxbury Innovation Center: 1,000 attendees at programs we ran and hosted for small businesses in 2019, 75% repeat attendance rate. * Venture Café Cambridge: Nearly 5,000 events since inception in 2010. Attendees - 200,000K + since 2010, 20,000 in 2019 We survey attendees regularly on the value of VCF programming. Metrics include: number of unique attendees, number of newsletter subscriptions and social media views, percentage of startups and founders attending, percentage of women attending, percentage of Black or Latinx or Asian people attending, office hours (mentorship program) attendance and topics. Additionally, we track through survey data the percentage of attendees who say that their professional network has improved, that they have learned relevant professional skills or formed new partnerships through VCF, and that they have found a job or hired staff through Venture Cafe events. We also collect and share impact stories.

More than 200,000 people have attended Venture Cafe New England events since 2010, connecting with the resources they need to support innovation and launch and grow businesses. Looking forward, we want to deploy our core belief that innovation is a process to improve the human condition to support startups and innovators everywhere in creating innovation-led responses to the global recession, to increasing diversity, and to racial justice. We also want to extend and increase our impact in neighborhoods and cities that are suffering from higher rates of employment, where entrepreneurship can be a local economic development driver. Roxbury Innovation Center's success as a hub for local startups and small businesses is one model for this. Roxbury Innovation Center is supported by many funders including the Economic Development Administration, Cummings Foundation, BNY Mellon Bank, and Eastern Bank. We hope to improve the continuum of support for entrepreneurs and innovators in underserved areas in developing business skills, building strong businesses, and finding financing. Over the next one to three years we hope to find new ways of replicating the model we have developed.

Financials

Venture Cafe Foundation Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Venture Cafe Foundation Inc.

Board of directors
as of 6/25/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Mitch Tyson

Tyson Associates

Term: 2016 - 2022

Damon Cox

Boston Foundation

Kevin Wiant

Vinit Nijhawan

Community Volunteer

Melissa James

Tech Connection

Mitch Tyson

MassEconomics

Daniel Vidaña

Venture Cafe New England

Christopher Muller

Boston University

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Keywords

innovation, startups, entrepreneurship, mentoring, technology, pitch events, tech, inclusive