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Urgent Message to Save Venture Café's Innovation Community


Venture Café St. Louis Expands Services with Two Satellite Programs

Venture Café Night: 39 North and Venture Café Night: Forward Through Resilience will expand reach and connect with a broader audience

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by in Stories
January 17, 2017

Venture Cafe St. Louis has become the place to be on a Thursday night for the Weekly Gathering, an event that allows innovators from a variety of business sectors to connect, share ideas, and pursue their dreams in a friendly and engaging environment.

In an effort to support additional innovators, Venture Café will broaden its reach by adding two satellite programs: “Venture Café Night: 39 North” and “Venture Café Night: Forward Through Resilience.” The events will be a mobile version of the Gathering, and each will be held once a month in 2017.

The Venture Café Gathering occurs 49 Thursdays each year and attracts more than 530 people each week, which is the world’s largest weekly event supporting innovation and entrepreneurship. Beyond the opportunity to connect and network, there are generally five to twelve educational sessions during each event. The attendees include local startups, investors, students, researchers, corporate innovation teams and others looking for innovative approaches to their work. The two new satellite programs will take place on the second and third Tuesdays each month and will include the same successful elements found at the Weekly Gathering—educational programming, supportive ambassadors, clear credo and robust schedule, among others. These events are free and open to anyone interested in innovation and entrepreneurship.

“We look at the Weekly Gathering as the core operating system of Venture Cafe, but like technology has taught us, the best desktop applications also have a strong mobile application,” said Travis Sheridan, president of the CIC Venture Cafe Global Institute. “That is what we are doing with these satellite programs. We are taking our proven core operations to new audiences.”

Venture Café Night: Forward Through Resilience will be held on the second Tuesday of the month from 3:00pm to 8:00pm at the LaunchCode Mentor Center on Delmar, beginning on February 14 and will focus on applying innovation to civic and social issues. Programming will specifically be curated to address the goals and efforts of the Promise Zone, Forward Through Ferguson, and 100 Resilient Cities. Venture Café Night: Forward through Resilience is supported by the St. Louis Development Corporation.

“Venture Cafe has made a name for itself for bringing together thought leaders and change makers to solve problems at a grassroots level. Its new Forward through Resilience project will broaden the conversation to a more diverse community to tap into new and different ideas to advance our region,” Mayor Francis Slay said. “We have many blueprints from which to work, including the Ferguson Commission’s report, 100 Resilient Cities and the Promise Zone. The City of St. Louis is proud to support these efforts to help engage with people who want to be a part of civic and social changes in region.”

Innovation-focused programming will be built around the 189 calls to action from the Ferguson Commission report, the six key goals of the Promise Zone, and the four resilience challenges identified as part of 100 Resilient Cities. Venture Café stands on the belief that innovation is a process to improve the human condition and works to align and amplify existing efforts.

“Over the past year we’ve watched a growing set of organizations and individuals push outside the status quo and their own comfort zones to align around the hard work necessary to address the challenges that put the region most at risk.” Said Nicole Hudson, lead catalyst at Forward Through Ferguson. “It’s great to see Venture Café and regional leaders committing to create and cultivate a space for more people to learn, engage, align and find their way into that work.”

Venture Café Night: 39 North will be held on the third Tuesday of the month from 3:00pm to 8:00pm at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center within the 39 North Innovation District, beginning on February 21, 2017. It will focus on innovations in plant science and agricultural technology. Venture Café Night: 39 North is sponsored by Monsanto and supported by the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center with additional consideration provided by Wexford Science + Technology and Christner.

“Venture Cafe has the proven ability to bring together smart and talented workers at its networking events,” said St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger. “These new sessions add to the already substantial appeal of 39 North as an innovative, collaborative work environment that fits with the culture of cutting edge AgTech companies from around the world.”

39 North is already home to the largest concentration of plant scientists in the world and several amenities that make it the right place for Venture Café programming.

“We believe that Venture Café: 39 North will be as successful as its Cortex brother. The gatherings facilitate serendipitous collisions that drive creativity, foster collaboration and stimulate investment, creating jobs and economic growth for our region,” said Sam Fiorello, chief operating officer, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and president, Bio Research & Development Growth (BRDG) Park.

Each Venture Café Night is free to attend and will curate programming from a variety of sectors. This has been a common thread of the Venture Café ethos. “Ag-tech can include corporate engagement, but it also explores issues of food insecurity, sustainability and machine learning,” said Sheridan. “Resiliency might look at better ways for public agencies to share data or creative solutions to youth violence. When multiple minds are engaged, the opportunities are endless. We just want to stimulate innovation and solve some big problems.”


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