Venture Cafe Providence Executive Director

Providence, Rhode Island, United States Full-time

Venture Café Foundation is expanding its programming from the Greater Boston area to operate a site and programs in Providence, Rhode Island, in 2019.  We are looking for an Executive Director to lead the team that will be operate our programs and drive additional economic development in Providence and Rhode Island. 

 The Venture Café Foundation’s mission is to broaden, connect, and support the innovation community through a public network of spaces and programs to give anyone with an idea the opportunity to succeed.  We have been helping people to start and grow businesses since 2010 by operating Venture Café Kendall (Boston’s largest weekly innovation gathering), District Hall (the world’s first civic innovation center) and Roxbury Innovation Center (the first urban innovation center). 

 In 2019, Venture Café Foundation will be opening its weekly innovation gathering and District Hall program in Providence’s Jewelry District.  These programs will be operating out of the new Innovation Center being developed by Wexford.  Venture Café is partnering with Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) to activate the building as CIC will be operating a co-working business in the building.  Venture Café and CIC have partnered to develop innovation ecosystems in other cities around the world. 

 The Executive Director for Venture Café Providence program is responsible for the strategy, overall supervision of the staff, programs, events and operations of the site and programming in Providence.  Venture Café will bring it best practices to its Providence but will adapt the implementation to match the needs and culture of the local community. 

 On any given day, District Hall will host hundreds of guests in the free public workspace and multiple events in collaboration with the restaurant and catering teams.  The weekly Venture Café event in Providence will become the hub of the Providence startup ecosystem.  This is a unique opportunity to work in a public facing role overseeing the operations, impact, and direction of a key part of Providence’s innovation economy.

 Primary responsibilities

  • Set strategic direction to accomplish the mission to drive greater economic development.
  • Manage a team of full time staff, volunteers and interns.
  • Establish a set of tactics, programs, seminars and other such activities that address the Mission and strategy.
  • Capture stories from people and companies about their startup or small business progress that can be told to others for educational or inspirational purposes.
  • Define and executive a marketing plan that promotes the site and programs.  The marketing plan includes storytelling from businesses that have used the center’s resources as well as partners that have participated in the programs.  
  • Develop and execute a plan to make the Venture Café Providence financially sustainable.  The plan includes a mix of room rentals, programming fees, sponsorships and grants. 
  • Work with building partners, including on site restaurant, to manage daily operations of this facility.
  • Overseeing facilities management, building operations, and maintenance of the building in collaboration with building partners. This will include capital improvements, furniture, digital upgrades, routine maintenance, and other activities as needed.
  • Identify and develop relationships with programming partners and sponsors to execute the tactical plan and strategy.  
  • Develop and execute a community outreach program to ensure the local groups are aware of the resources available from Venture Café and District Hall and how they can use them, including professional groups, companies, community organizations, non-profits, universities, creative services communities and government entities.  
  • Maintain a metrics tracking and financial processing system.  Define an annual budget and track to this budget. 
  • Collaborate with other Venture Café Foundation programs in greater Boston and Venture Cafes around the world.
  • Lead and assist in a variety of execution tasks from planning and managing to setting furniture up for events. 

 Skills Required;

  • Passionate about expanding the startup / small business ecosystem and economic development in the Providence area
  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Comprehensive computer skills
  • Very good critical thinking, analytical skills, and troubleshooting skills
  • Ability to work independently and with a small team
  • Ability to meet deadlines and balance multiple priorities
  • Strong customer interaction skills

 About Venture Café Foundation

The Venture Café Foundation is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit whose goal is to enhance and accelerate innovation and economic development in the New England region. The foundation offers meeting space, programming, and connections that build relationships between entrepreneurs, investors, and innovators. Our mission is to broaden, connect, and support the innovation community through a public network of spaces and programs to give anyone with an idea the opportunity to succeed.

 We believe that anyone with an idea has the potential to be an innovator, and that innovation is present everywhere. Our vision is to create a network of empowered individuals and communities who feel confident in their ideas and have the resources to achieve them. By providing spaces, programs, and connections, we can strengthen our local and global communities to tackle problems with creative solutions.

The Venture Café Foundation’s present major programs include Venture Café KendallDistrict HallDistrict Hall, and StartHub



4-year degree