Once you decide to create a venture you might be surprised to discover how many individuals, resources and organizations are ready to help you do exactly that. New ventures are recognized in most countries of the world as the best engine for economic growth, so lots of attention is directed to the cultivation of new ventures.
On the for-profit side there are government programs, investment banks and financial organizations with mandates to assess and support new commercial ventures. The web has so many examples that you should look for yourself – and if you find something of special interest please share it in the blog: we appreciate participation and collaborative knowledge construction in this course. Two general Canadian government resources include Canada Business and the BDC Advice Centre. Walk through the steps outlined in either of these sites for starting a new business. You might find it fun and worthwhile to take the BDC’s Entrepreneur Self-Assessment survey to see if you have the attributes they believe an entrepreneur requires.
For a more dynamic example, New Ventures BC supports venture development as an annual competition, taking all participants through a program of learning (here are their most recent video seminars) that culminates in investment prizes for the most exciting ventures. Take the time to view at least one of these seminars, and imagine it as part of a venture cohort process. With a small team, you might also want to try the Google Ventures “Sprint” approach.
Savvy not-for-profit entrepreneurs generally make use of all the for-profit information materials because the ideas and requirements map across perfectly. The primary differences are that the sources for financing will tend to be the public and private stakeholders in the original social value the new venture intends to generate, and that the measures of success will be calculated in specific metrics of public benefit.
Most learning technology ventures start as a concept that is researched, incubated and prototyped somewhere. The incubator could be somebody’s garage, a ‘skunkworks’ group (this is a term for an officially-sanctioned development activity within a company that is never-the-less “below the radar” or operating secretly), or a project within an institution. At some point during incubation a decision is made to launch a real venture. The issue of non-profit, for-profit or social enterprise is usually decided at that point, more often based on the experience and inclination of the protagonists than on the actual potential of the venture-to-be.
The consequences of pursuing the right ideas, in the right place, at the right time, and making the right decisions along the way, injects considerable risk into every venture. The single best way to mitigate such risks is to work with the right people, which is the subject of the next section.