Venture Central is seeking an Executive Director who will be responsible for providing leadership and vision with a focus on growing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Central Virginia. The Executive Director will work with founders, funders, the Venture Central Board and partner organizations to develop and implement an overall start-up growth and retention strategy. The strategy will address key gaps in the ecosystem, oversee the development of a physical hub as a locus of entrepreneurial activity, provide high-impact programming in conjunction with partners’ efforts to establish, grow and retain start-ups in Central Virginia; and pursue strategic opportunities to fuel growth through innovation and entrepreneurship.
The Executive Director of Venture Central is a key figure within the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem. The Executive Director has overall responsibility for the strategy, operations, and sustainability of Venture Central, reporting to the Board of Directors. The Executive Director will manage the day-to-day operations consistent with the budget as approved by the Board, manage the relationships with partner organizations, local governments, and educational institutions, and hire and manage Venture Central staff. The Executive Director will assess the effectiveness of Venture Central programs and services, measure outcomes, and propose changes as needed, including the addition of new programs and services as necessary, to the Board of Directors. The Executive Director will work with the Board to develop and execute goals and strategies, as well as prepare and approve the annual operating budget. The Executive Director will be the spokesperson for Venture Central and serve as a representative of the Central Virginia entrepreneurial ecosystem to the broader community in the region and state as appropriate.
Founded in 2021 as a 501(c) (3) organization, Venture Central exists to serve and strengthen our entrepreneurial community by building and bridging connections, programs, funding and spaces. It is a collaboration among the Albemarle County Office of Economic Development, the City of Charlottesville Office of Economic Development, the University of Virginia Office of Economic Development and the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce. Through action-oriented partnerships, high-impact programming and a welcoming hub of activity the organization’s vision is to make Central Virginia an internationally respected entrepreneurial community.
Central Virginia is one of the most desirable locations in Virginia and the nation, with an excellent school system, low crime and unemployment rates, a skilled and educated workforce and a wealth of cultural, historical, and recreational amenities in a beautiful setting. It is a diverse locality with rural, suburban, and urban characteristics. In 2017 and 2018 Charlottesville was named the #5 best place to live in America by Livability.
- Superior interpersonal and communication skills, strong networker and collaborator.
- Proven ability to cultivate partnerships and build a common vision for success among both internal and external stakeholders.
- Demonstrated ability to pitch innovative ideas, articulate a vision and engage others in creation, implementation and promotion.
- Ability to develop a strategic plan, achieve buy-in of key stakeholders and execute successfully.
- Demonstrated ability to effectively collaborate with multiple constituents as well as the ability to work jointly with a board to make complicated recommendations with good judgment.
- Demonstrated leadership commitment to diversity, equity and inclusivity, along with a record of actively championing inclusive efforts and achieving results.
- Demonstrated regional cooperation among local governments and stakeholders to collaborate on complex challenges that include variables such as political, geographical, demographic and economic differences.
- Ability to strengthen and leverage a network of resources to support early-stage companies from incubation through expansion.
- Demonstrated leadership commitment to operational transparency and integrity in the management and leadership of Venture Central.
- Results-oriented manager with an entrepreneurial mindset who possesses operational management, business, business development or other relevant experience.
- Experience working as one of the first employees in a start-up organization, whether as a founder, early management team member, or small business owner. Prior entrepreneurial experience as a company founder is preferred.
- In-depth knowledge of business incubation or other programs that support entrepreneurship and business start-up is desirable. Preference given to experienced managers of entrepreneurial centers or support programs.
- Demonstrated ability to recruit, manage and motivate a small staff under changing circumstances.
- Demonstrated ability to implement a financially sustainable program with a proven track record of successful and significant fundraising efforts.
- Working knowledge with venture investing is expected. Experience with government grants, including Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants is preferred.
- Previous experience working with angel investors and venture capitalists.
- Experience managing a budget and the ability to oversee and execute fundraising strategy and grant writing efforts.
Experience and Qualifications
- Bachelors’ Degree required; Master’s Degree (MBA or MS), preferred.
- A minimum of 5 years of operational management, business, business development or other relevant experience.
How to apply:
Please prepare and email a cover letter, resume, and a written document (750 words or less) that describes the role you played in assisting 2 separate and distinct start-ups and 3 references to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The position will remain opened until filled and will be carried out with full confidentiality; candidates will be notified before references are contacted.