|Products||Workspace for startups, small businesses, freelancers and entrepreneurs|
|Brands||Venture Café, Venture Café Global, Innovation Hall, District Hall|
|Services||Shared workspaces and related services for entrepreneurs|
Venture Café is a nonprofit hosting community-focused events and programs which support early-stage entrepreneurs.
There are currently eight Venture Cafés in cities across the Midwest, South, and Northeastern regions of the United States, and in Tokyo, Japan, and Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Each Venture Café is independently managed and runs the flagship program, the Thursday Gathering. Recently, Venture Café Providence recently was announced through a partnership with the city of Providence.
Venture Café Boston
The Venture Café was originally conceived as a restaurant located in the CIC in Boston, Massachusetts. The restaurant failed to attract investment and was reimagined as a gathering for the entrepreneurial community based on the book Venture Café by Teresa Esser. Venture Café Kendall launched in 2009 bringing together hundreds of entrepreneurs each week for the flagship program, the Thursday Gathering.
Venture Café St. Louis
In 2014, Venture Café expanded to the Cortex Innovation Community in St. Louis, Missouri, to bring together the emerging startup community. The success of the St. Louis location prompted the launch of Venture Cafés in other cities and ultimately the creation of Venture Café Global Institute, a public benefit corporation based in both St. Louis and Boston.
In 2014, the City of Boston and Venture Café Kendall opened District Hall, a free drop-in workspace for entrepreneurs, including an event venue, restaurant and coffee shop. In 2018, as part of St. Louis Cortex District's new 4220 Duncan building anchored by Microsoft, Venture Cafe launches Innovation Hall in St. Louis based upon Boston's District Hall. The St. Louis location will also be the first to launch the Education Hub, also known as EdHub STL, a program supporting and bringing together innovators in education to benefit youth access to education. EdHub STL is inspired by the Forward Through Ferguson report which calls for an innovation education hub to address the region's most entrenched educational issues.
The flagship program of Venture Café, is the Thursday Gathering, a weekly, community-focused event that provides opportunities for new and experienced entrepreneurs the ability to exchange ideas and support. The Thursday Gathering includes several free educational sessions aimed at entrepreneurs to learn how to start and run a business. The Gatherings are intentionally informal allowing for more opportunity to engage in creative and speculative ideas and look for collaborators, co-founders, mentors, or investors.
Venture Cafés in St. Louis, Boston, and Philadelphia currently offer free drop-in workspace for entrepreneurs to work and collaborate in addition to paid event and meeting rooms and restaurants and coffeeshops.
Venture Café Foundation in Boston currently runs the Roxbury Innovation Center and St. Louis is launching EdHub STL in 2018. Both programs focus on bringing together innovators in education including students, parents, administration, and teachers to help solve inequities in education and introduce youth to entrepreneurship and STEAM activities.
Café Nights are monthly or quarterly versions of the Thursday Gathering located outside the weekly event.
- McGowan, Dan (10 September 2018). "Mayor Elorza, nonprofit leaders launch innovation partnership". Retrieved 5 October 2018.
- Kirsner, Scott (21 June 2018). "How a failed restaurant became Cambridge's hottest Thursday spot". Boston Globe. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- "Venture Café's mission is connecting innovators to make things happen". Venture Cafe Official Website. 24 August 2018. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- Bryant, Tim (Sep 29, 2014). "Cambridge Innovation Center opens at Cortex". St. Louis Post Dispatch. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- McGuigan, Christine (2 March 2018). "T-REX and Venture Cafe STL are changing St. Louis' startup landscape". Silicon Prairie News. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- Deem, Jason (10 May 2018). "Cortex Unveils New 4220 Duncan Building". NextSTL. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- "Venture Cafe St. Louis To Open Innovation Hall At Cortex". 12 April 2018.
- "Create an Innovative Education Hub". Forward Through Ferguson. 24 August 2018. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- Kukuljan, Steph (11 April 2018). "'Innovation center,' restaurant to open at Cortex". St. Louis Business Journal. Retrieved 24 August 2018.