Last night, a group of dedicated Tauranga-based entrepreneurs launched the VentureCentre.

Venture Centre is all about people finding people and ideas finding ideas. It is an organisation designed to deliver exceptional value to people on their journey to prosperity.

The goal is to connect the people, places, tools, resources, knowledge and support needed for sustainable success. It is the start of a project that sits at the intersection of supply, demand, private enterprise and life-long learning.

Tauranga, Bay of Plenty

Tauranga, Bay of Plenty

I was fortunate to have been briefed about and given a preview of the project and website prior to launch. I know that this is part of a much bigger set of initiatives being designed by the team to build out a significant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty. I have posted on this opportunity and its process many times before.

You can learn more about VentureCentre and its core values by visiting the website.

I would however like to focus on the people behind the organisation and talk a little more about how they and others are seeking to build that long-term sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem in the city and the wider Bay of Plenty region.

There are four co-founders. Michael Doerner and Steven Vincent are both part of the team at TechnologyWise. Jo Allum is founder of yojo design and Pascale Hyboud-Peron is founder of the ThinkAgency. Four people. One vision. Each understanding that through collaboration you can build more than the sum of each part. VentureCentre is a core part of this vision.

So these then are the co-founders. What about the Partners? They are Tina Jennen, Venture Manager, Enterprise Angels & Newnham Park Tech Precinct and Anne Pankhurst, Operations, Events and Training Manager, Tauranga Chamber of Commerce. I know both Tina and Anne well. They are part of that growing community who are not just talking the talk, but walking the walk.

In his book, Start-up Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City, Brad Feld talks about how start-up communities grow when entrepreneurs in that community engage and start to build the foundations of that ecosystem. Local government, universities and others can assist and play an important part in supporting and facilitating that build; it is however the entrepreneurs that will always lead. The VentureCentre is a great example of this.

In Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty, there are many other entrepreneurs currently building important parts of the emerging ecosystem. More will join this process. In one of my blog posts, Can Tauranga Replicate Boulder, I talked about a number of the important lessons that can be learnt here in New Zealand. Chief amongst those was the statement that Feld repeatedly makes; it is the entrepreneurs who will lead and make this happen.

Last night’s launch of the VentureCentre website is an important part of that longer-term process. A great step forward by a team of passionate and engaged entrepreneurs.